As the economy moves into growth, I’m sure we’re all feeling a little more confident about the forthcoming year. We’re certainly seeing an upturn in marketing activity, particularly on web-based channels.
Early in the year, we engaged with the Government’s Growth Accelerator programme. Being recognised as high-growth business allowed us to unlock consultancy advice to help us maintain our trajectory.
Our strategy has been to separate our service offering between larger SME/enterprise customers and smaller SME/owner-managed businesses. We recognised that these types of customers required different solutions, and so we created internal teams to better reflect their requirements.
Our new website (which hopefully you’ve all seen!) was launched in December, built on Expression Engine as a development platform. The site re-positioned our brand towards enterprise customers and larger SMEs. This will be followed by a revamped Absolitely website aimed at start-ups and smaller SMEs, offering sites primarily on the WordPress platform.
We’ve been seeing a steady increase in the number and complexity of ecommerce sites, using our preferred Magento solution. Integration with clients’ back office systems is becoming the norm, whereby a client manages their product data through Microsoft Nav, Sage 500/1000 or another customised legacy solution that needs to ‘talk’ to the website and maintain stock levels and tiered pricing data. We now have three Magento developers, with plans for a fourth early next year.
As an increasing number of users are accessing the web via their smartphone or tablet, we’ve also seen an increased interest in mobile-centric versions of client sites. Such projects have included dedicated smartphone sites for Potter Clarkson and Nottingham Tram (NET), and responsive sites (whereby the design changes depending on the site of the screen), which was the approach we adopted for our own site.
We also expanded our hosting solutions to accommodate this change in structure, so we now offer enterprise, standard, WordPress and Magento-specific hosting solutions.
A key appointment has been our social media expert, Holly. Having worked on a number of high profile brands, from Harry Potter to BlackBerry, Holly allows us to offer strategic consultancy in terms of social media activity. Given the growing importance of on-site content for search, this service now falls firmly within our remit. Next year sees the strengthening of our search offering with a high-level SEO strategist. Both appointments are in line with our commitment to offer strategic consultancy in addition to delivering web-based services.
Manufacturing continues to be a key sector and this year we have worked with a number of businesses, four of which received grant assistance of £2,000+, representing a 50% contribution towards the consultancy provided by Absolute. Other strong vertical sectors include Professional Services, IT, Transport, Education and Retail, particularly with Magento ecommerce projects.
We held four seminars throughout the year, about Google’s Panda update, ecommerce, web trends and social media. They are always well received and provide a great platform to meet existing and potential clients.
- Our turnover increased by over 20% year on year, but this masked a shift in work from print to web, which now accounts for 75% of turnover, compared to 67% last year
- Most impressive was the increase in turnover attributed to our start-up/smaller SME service, which increased by 55% year on year ###li
- We’ve worked with 203 clients this year, producing over 800 projects
- We host 204 websites and 198 email accounts
- We manage nine servers and back-up 2,675,466 files, which account for 1,914.88 gigabytes of space
- We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients for the projects they placed with Absolute both over the past year and the eighteen years before it. Yes, we’re 20 next year – we’ve made it through the awkward teenage years and are looking forward to our 20s – more on that next year…
- In the meantime, make sure you check out our interactive Review of the Year microsite