Hudson Chartered Accountant – Business website

Hudson Chartered Accountant logo

The Project

Louise Hudson set up in business as an independent chartered accountant and business advisor in 2012 and needed a website that reflected her friendly and approachable ethos.

She wanted a website that was simple and uncluttered as well as modern, and we suggested that she adopt the new responsive technology that would allow her site to be viewed as easily on a desktop computer as it can be on a mobile phone or iPad.

What Moghill did

[caption id="attachment_1060" align="alignright" width="450"]Louise Hudson's responsive design website designed by Moghill Web Services Louise Hudson’s responsive design website[/caption]

We took the time to understand Louise and her business aims so that we could produce a website that got the basics across without being stuffy in the way some accountancy websites can be.

We used images and a logo supplied by Louise and created a simple site that is user-friendly and modern with text that is short and to the point yet friendly in tone.

We also integrated the site with Louise’s professional social media profiles on Twitter and LinkedIn.

View the website:

What they said

Louise Hudson said: “It was a pleasure dealing with Moghill in the construction of my website.

“The website was designed in the way I requested – Fiona and Patrick took time to understand and listen to my requirements and provided a personal, user-friendly and cost-effective site.

“My queries are dealt with promptly. I am also very pleased with the responsive design which allows my website to be viewed easily on a smart phone.”

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Neil the Knit – Web Shop

Neil the Knit logo by Moghill Web Services

The Project

We were asked to build the first ever website and online shop for Neil, who has spent many years selling wools and yarns at exhibitions around the UK.

He wanted a way for his customers to buy from him when not at a show, and a new, fresh branding to stand out from the crowd and he wanted a company he could deal with in plain English.

[caption id="attachment_1065" align="alignright" width="375"]Neil the Knit web yarns and knitting pattern shop designed by Moghill Web Services Neil the Knit web yarns and knitting pattern shop[/caption]

What Moghill did

We took an original idea of Neil’s and worked it into a logo for an online shop with Paypal integration.

Neil was also clear that the shop should be easy to use and clearly laid out so we used a web shop with a simple interface and a one page checkout.

The shop began with around 300 products but we have worked with Neil to expand it beyond 500 products with yet more planned.

We also produced a range of branded products for Neil, from business cards to environmentally friendly cotton bags.

Visit the website:

What they said

Neil Morris, owner, said: “I have found Fiona and Patrick to be professional, very helpful, honest and approachable.

“Their setting up of the web site has run very smoothly and deadlines were met.

“They also spoke in a jargon free language and my “idiot sheet” is clear. I look forward to working with them both in the future.”

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Cookie law made simple – no need to panic

Woman with bag on head

In the last few months alarm has been spreading across the web community and anyone who owns a website.

The reason? A new British law governing privacy and websites, often referred to as the EU Cookie Law because it is derived from a European Directive.

Since this post was first written in July 2012 the interpretation of the law has been relaxed again. See our latest blog post on the issue.

The law affects just about every website, with severe fines of up to £500,000 for non-compliance. Yet most websites did not comply and most website owners were not aware of it.

[caption id="attachment_537" align="alignright" width="300"]Woman with bag on head Sure this is an approach to the Cookie Law, but not the best one[/caption]

As time ticked down towards its introduction on May 26 the fear and paranoia grew – and as ever there were plenty of people only too ready to cash in. That wasn’t helped by a lack of clear guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who will enforce the law.

So what’s it all about?

Cookies are small files that allow a website to recognise and track users. The vast majority of websites use them – for example to remember what is in your shopping cart or to recognise you when you return to a site. They also allow website owners to track statistics for their sites, allowing them to improve services in a cost effective way.

On the whole they are a good thing that makes using the web easier for everyone.

But some are intrusive, effectively spying on people who visit a website for a long time after they have left it, and without their knowledge or permission.

The law was created to regulate these, after all it’s only right that you should have a choice whether to accept them or not. It’s about online privacy.

The trouble is it targets ALL cookies, not just the intrusive ones, which is why it puts just about everyone in a technical breach. As with all privacy issues, it’s difficult to know where to draw the line. That makes it a major headache for everyone who runs a website.


Much of the fear has been generated around the penalties for not complying with the law and it’s true that website owners can be fined up to £500,000. But don’t expect to see anyone fined for a long, long time.

The ICO is adopting a softly, softly approach of education rather than using a big stick and fines will only be issued as a last resort when:

  • There have been complaints about a site
  • That site is using very intrusive cookies that capture sensitive data, such as medical information, maybe using that info to target advertising or pass on to third parties
  • The site owner explicitly refuses to do anything about it, despite repeated requests from the ICO.

And if you are approached by the ICO, you will be given plenty of chances – and lots of advice – to help you put things right.

That hasn’t stopped consultants and some web firms seeing an opportunity to cash in, often using fear of fines as a way to sell their services, most of which involve over the top solutions – a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

To be fair on some of these, the hazy guidance from the ICO hasn’t helped. Neither has the fact that at the 11th hour the ICO made a small, but very important, change to their advice.

Their first advice was that websites must obtain consent before setting any cookies, therefore disabling analytics, social media or many other site functions until a user agreed. This was technically quite difficult to do. It also meant using intrusive pop ups that block a site from use until a user has consented – or otherwise.

Sometimes the only way to comply would have been to tell people to leave the site.

But just before the May 26 deadline the advice changed. The new version allows for implied consent – so it’s ok to set cookies so long as you tell them what they are and how to block them. This makes all the difference.

Many web companies have invested a lot of time and money into producing solutions that – while being intrusive – complied with the law as it stood.

Unfortunately, the change to implied consent has made these solutions look like overkill. You can’t blame these companies for persisting with them when they have spent a lot of time and money developing their solution, only to see it obsolete.

The truth is that complying with the law – or at least avoiding unwanted attention from the ICO – is relatively straightforward for most of us and should not involve a great deal of work.

See the easy way to comply with the EU Cookie Law

Before you spend on SEO, take a long, hard look at your website

Frustrated man with glasses

SEO companies are everywhere – cold calling, emailing and offering to do wonderful things for your site.

[caption id="attachment_506" align="alignright" width="300"]Frustrated man with glasses “I don’t care about your mission statement! How much do you charge?”[/caption]

They say driving traffic to your website will magically increase your sales.

Many will throw lots of figures about page rank, keyword analysis, backlinks and optimisation for good measure.

But while these things are important, a lot of these Search Engine Optimisation companies miss the big picture:

Getting more people to look at your website is not an aim in itself.

Fine, you can get more traffic, but what will these people do when they get to your site?

If your site lacks focus, is badly written, unnecessarily complex and difficult to use then the chances are the increased traffic will only lead to more people leaving the site almost as soon as they have arrived.

You might as well just throw your money down the drain.

New customers?

The point of your business website is to bring you new customers and sometimes to serve existing ones, but if your website is difficult to use or lacks professionalism then you could end up putting people off.

So take a look at your website from the point of view of a prospective customer who has never seen it before and knows nothing about your business.

Answer their questions

What questions will that person have in their mind? Have you answered them? Is it easy to get around the site? Does it really create the right impression for your business? How effective is it at getting your key messages across?

Search engines, and Google in particular, are placing increasing weight on the relevance of a site as well as its quality. In other words, good sites do well in searches.

So if you get the quality right, you will not need to spend a fortune on SEO consultants.

The easy way to comply with the EU Cookie Law

The Cookie Monster

There has been much talk about the EU Cookie Law, which came into force in the UK in May this year, as well as scaremongering about big fines for non-compliance.

Since this post was first written in July 2012 the interpretation of the law has been relaxed again. See our latest blog post on the issue. But the position changes repeatedly, so see for the latest updates.

The truth, while a little hazy at times, is somewhat simpler and a lot less intimidating. It’s really not that difficult to set yourself on the road to compliance, which is what the authorities are looking for.

[caption id="attachment_611" align="alignright" width="300"]The Cookie Monster Cookie Monster[/caption]

The following is our interpretation of how to put yourself on the road to complying with the new EU Cookie Law and should work for you as long as you are not using any overly intrusive cookies that gather sensitive data.

It is not intended as definitive advice and if you need that you should consult the Information Commissioner’s Office(ICO) directly or see a lawyer. For full advice see the ICO’s latest guidance (PDF download)

The law is far from clear and it’s early days yet. The position may change but right now complying with the law – or at least avoiding unwanted attention from the ICO – is relatively straightforward for most of us and should not involve a great deal of work.

Remember that the ICO will be satisfied if you are ‘working towards compliance’ and to do that you need to follow the steps below. The good news is this need only take an hour.

Do a cookie audit

As a website owner, you need to understand what cookies your website is setting and what they do.

The way to do this is to use a free tool that checks your site. There is no need to spend a fortune on doing this – or even any money at all.

If you use Google Chrome a simple free browser extension is available from Attacat. Full details and the extension itself are available on this page:

You don’t have to register to get it, and it will also give you an indication as to how instrusive any cookies you use are.

Another solution, especially if you use Mozilla Firefox, is the Firefox web developer toolbar, which includes a cookie auditing tool. The extension is available here:

Remember, it’s not an exact science and a cookie audit may not pick up everything your site generates. You only have to show that you are taking steps towards complying in full.

When you have done your audit you need to assess each cookie and what it does. If there’s anything you don’t understand you will need to talk to your web design company.

You can also Google the name of the cookie to find out what it does.

Publish the information

It’s actually been law to publish cookie information on your site since 2003, something that many people have ignored.

It’s usually hidden in the site’s Privacy Policy (if you have one) but now you have to make it easier to find.

It should also be in plain English and easy to understand, so there’s no room for legal jargon and geek speak.

You will need to create a new page for your Cookies Policy. You need to tell people what cookies you use (not necessarily naming them all) and what each one does.

It’s helpful to point people to instructions on how to turn cookies off using their browser controls. This page at aboutcookies is useful.

This page at offers a comprehensive guide for the lay person and the developer.


The ICO’s line on this is clear – you must have consent. But that seems to extend to implied consent, where you can assume consent has been given, so long as you make it easy for people to withdraw their consent and not accept cookies.

But while the law makes no distinction between ‘good’ cookies and ‘bad’ ones, in practice the ICO will. So for many sites that do not collect sensitive information, covering the first three steps should be enough for now at least.

What are others doing?

It’s a good idea to look at what the big boys do. If you have visited any of the sites below before, clear your cookies first before using these links.

The BBC went live with their cookie advice a few days before the May 26 deadline, but when the emphasis went to implied consent they scaled it back. The banner appears only once and assumes consent.

ITV is doing even less. Its cookie statement is in their website footer, and again assumes consent.

BT uses lots of cookies and therefore spent a lot of time and money on developing their solution, with a sliding scale where users can set their preferences, but even they are assuming consent has been given.

John Lewis adopt the same approach, with a subtle banner at the top that disappears once you move to another page.

See The Cookie Law made simple – for more background on the law.

photo credit: nettsu via photopin cc

Why your business needs a website

Recession - definition

Okay, so your business mainly deals with local people, so why would you want a website?

You can still use the web to connect your business to new customers locally.

[caption id="attachment_917" align="alignright" width="350"]Recession - definition A good website can help you fight the effects of the recession[/caption]

The simple answer is, if you’ve ever advertised – in a local paper or Yellow Pages perhaps – or put flyers through letter boxes then you need a website.

Your website is where you get the chance to tell your potential customers about your business.

You can say more than you’ll ever fit in an advert – and that’s just for a start.

Your customers can find out about what you can do for them without them having to ask you directly.

You can show them examples of your work, tell them how to get in touch with you and of course sell your products and services – and the beauty of it is that once it’s set up anyone can access it, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You don’t have to do a thing.

More business

A well set up, professional website can bring in new business and raise your profile more than any amount of advertising.

Get it right and a good website can help your business be a success, even more so if tied in with a well used presence on social media, such as Facebook.

After all we’re in the 21st century now and people expect businesses to be online these days.

Often people looking for a service will look on the internet first and if you’re not on the web you’re not taking advantage of the best low cost advertising space there is.

This is only going to become more important as a generation of young people brought up on computers grow to maturity.

While you may be doing okay with your current customers, your future customers will be looking for you on the web – make sure they can find you!

Mind how you go….

Many small businesses build their own sites with varying results – but wouldn’t you rather concentrate on what you do best and leave your website to a professional?

If you don’t know what you’re getting into some of the do it yourself options can look attractive, but if you’re not careful you can end up wasting so much time learning to do basic things that it would have been cheaper to pay someone to do it.

And don’t fall into the trap of having a mate do your site as a favour – at Moghill we’ve never seen that type of arrangement work out well.

Do yourself a favour and concentrate on what you’re good at – running your business – and bring in a professional to take care of your site.

Your route to web success

If your website is to be a success it needs to be done properly otherwise you won’t get your message across.

Your website creates an impression about your business and if you want to look like you mean business you need a professional looking website.

And if you don’t get a professional to build your site the chances are your customers won’t even be able to find it.

Why simple websites are best

A boffin

A simple website will not only get your message across to your customers in the most effective way possible, but it will save you money, too.

Many web companies will try and sell you a site with all the bells, whistles and gimmicks they can but this will only end up annoying your website visitors – so why bother?

All the research shows that website visitors have less and less patience with websites.

They just want to get in, find out what they need to know and get out again.

[caption id="attachment_516" align="alignright" width="199"]A boffin A usability boffin, yesterday[/caption]

Anything else just gets in the way and often makes the page load slower, adding to their frustration.

A good website doesn’t need:

  • Flashy animated graphics (including dancing gnomes!)
  • Swish designs that baffle and confuse visitors;
  • Pages of waffle and mission statements;
  • ‘Cool’ greetings that say good morning/afternoon/evening according to the time of day you arrive;
  • Any other pointless gimmicks that detract from your message.

In fact these features will only get in the way of your business connecting with your customers.

So why go to all that trouble, let alone pay through the nose for a load of stuff you just don’t need?

Still not convinced? Then read on…

So what does your business website need?

Your website should be:

  • Easy to use and find what you want;
  • Short and to the point, and written in plain English;
  • Built according to web standards and display the same for everyone;
  • Easy to find on search engines and other media such as Google Maps and Facebook.

Find out more:

  • Jakob Nielsen’s site provides a guide on how web content should be written: Concise, scannable, and Objective: How to write for the web

Choosing a web design company

Building websites in his bedroom every now and again

There’s a massive choice of web design companies out there – so how do you spot the diamonds and avoid the duds?

One of the problems with web design is that anyone can do it – to an extent. But you should exercise the same caution when looking at web design companies as you would if you were hiring a builder.

[caption id="attachment_921" align="alignright" width="350"]Building websites in his bedroom every now and again Building websites in his bedroom every now and again[/caption]

Steer clear of companies who offer web design as an add on to their main business – common among IT and telecoms companies, as well as public relations and marketing companies. They often lack the skills to give you a decent website.

They may be able to have a go at giving you a site, but it will probably cost you more money and hassle in the long run.

And in the end you will probably have to go to a proper web design company!

The perils of amateurs

These days anyone with a computer can set themselves up as a web designer and this amateurism can make hiring a web designer a nightmare.

They may have flashy websites of their own, but there’s a lot more to building a professional website than the ability to make it look  nice.

The geeks

There are also web companies who want to sell you all sorts of complicated web solutions – but at a price. Often these web agencies are more biased towards the technical side of things.

Sure – you’ll get a website, but you may well pay through the nose for a solution that uses a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

We’ve seen clients charged large amounts by these companies only to be left on their own once the site has been built.

On the other hand, some may charge very little and only deal with you via e-mail. Always be suspicious of someone who will not speak on the phone or meet in person. And be wary of people claiming to supply ‘cheap’ websites – it will always cost you more in the end.

Long term relationship

Even if you only have a three page simple website you are still entering into a long term business relationship with the company who builds it. So you should treat your website as you would any other long term partnership.

Any company worth its salt should have a portfolio of websites they have produced for other clients. The company should be happy for prospective clients to contact its customers.

You are looking for a broader range of skills, not just an expert in IT, public relations or graphic design.

Those skills include:

  • Writing and editing – specifically writing for websites
  • Photography and design
  • The necessary technical skills
  • In depth understanding of web user behaviour and how to present information
  • Web marketing skills, including search engine optimisation
  • Project management skills and a proven ability to deliver

But above all else they must have good customer service skills. You must be able to build a rapport with your web provider.