Thursday, 31 December 2009

Cyprus Villas - I dream of sunshine

The shortest day is behind us, we have feasted and rested. Many of us slid around badly gritted roads and pavements in our bid to congregate with family and friends. Tonight the bells will toll a new year in, and free television channels will broadcast best of and worst of lists and charts of the top 100 whatevers, peppered with product adverts, ad nauseum.

The noughties will give way to the teens (but what about 2010, 2011, and 2012?) as pundits struggle for decade nomenclature now that mass media memes are de rigeur. The sun will get higher in the sky as the days go by and people will start talking about crocuses. Tonight's the night for too much alcohol in this week of excess. Maybe it would be good to read a book or play risk instead.

Oh to be in Cyprus where you can chat on the beach academically about sub-zero temperatures.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

New potatoes

We've been updating the JBA Seed Potatoes website and it now boasts a new design by Kit Allen Ltd. There is some added functionality such as the advanced search and a streamlining of the basket and checkout process.

This site is updated regularly with content and new potato products and information so we hope 2010 will be another good year for the seed potato website.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Sleigh bells ringing

Looking forward to the new year at Callisti - a number of new projects to get stuck into and we're pleased to say our customers have been enjoying a good year. We have a new ecommerce site about to launch but the news of the day is surely the performance of Sledges, the Aviemore based retailer, since we organised professional DotNetNuke hosting and updated the site to a more stable version.

Traffic and sales are escalating wildly, even just the mention of snow on a UK weather forecast has an impact on visitors to the site, and this month online sales have hit a record high in the website's history. The month's not over yet but there may be a tail-off as the last order cut-off for Christmas 2009 delivery approaches.

Historically the sales and visitors rise again in the new year as demand for sledges is very much winter weather dependent and Scotland won't be short of that in the coming months.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Waney edge boards

Carronbridge Sawmill has its own pressure treatment tank at Carronbridge, Thornhill so timber products can get the green treatment. This is a more eco-friendly method of preservation.

Wordpress is interesting to develop with especially with the wide range of themes and powerful blog (originally) engine driving the resulting websites. Callisti is looking forward to developing and submitting some themes for general use to the wordpress community in the new year.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Hats, Headpieces and Fascinators

This is a wordpress development based on Wayne Connor's sliding door theme to present the bounty of hats and headpieces hand-crafted by Marie Hill Millinery in Lockerbie, Scotland.

Wordpress has recently won awards in 2009 for open source CMS so is pushing old favourites Joomla and Drupal around a bit. The power and simplicity of the wordpress model along with the huge and diverse support network of users and developers make it very flexible and robust with each new version release.

We've taken the wordpress install and customised it to suit the gallery image layout requirements of the client, and tailored the sliding door images to suit the millinery related content.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Edinburgh apartment to let

The estate managers at Galloway House Estate are now providing accommodation in Edinburgh near Stockbridge and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Callisti assisted with some airbrushing (removing scaffolding and estate agency signs) and annexed the page to the existing site. It's usually advisable to categorise your content under a relevant URL but this is a way of testing the visitor response.

Some other updates throughout the website mean some minor glitches have been sorted e.g. the old Set rs = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Connection") , rs.CursorLocation = adUseClient; previously there were errors when attempting to update some fields in the management section.

Also the design layout was being compromised on certain pages due to the table (tables!) widths and image thumbnails, but this has been resolved.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Who's gonna drive you home?

More website transfer action at the weekend means that Callisti now unexpectedly hosts 3 limo websites for Dumfries and Galloway and the Cumbria area.

The Carlisle Pink Hummer has been on the books for a year so the Dumfries Limo and Excalibur Limousine websites effectively make a limo portfolio.

Re: Arthur Pendragon - sometimes you don't have to pull swords from stones, so much as catch them when they fall out.

Scottish Castles

We've now completed working through re-instating hosting provision after being dealt a hand of satellite sites for Comlongon Castle.

Due to the different angles of interest - historic, romantic, panoramic - there are a number of targeted domain names around variations on the Comlongon Castle theme.

Weighing up the balance of SEO costs and benefits will be an ongoing task.

Keeping the outdoor spirit alive

Patties of Dumfries is one of Dumfries and Galloway's established outdoor shops and provides brand name outdoor wear and kit. A timely transfer for Callisti given the recent and impending weather!

We will be working with the team at Patties to develop an effective ecommerce solution for a select range of outdoor wear. News to follow...

Friday, 6 November 2009

Caveat Emptor

This lesson is so old the latin has stuck around.

In other words, once you've been sold something, what you thought you'd bought isn't what you actually got - and there's no recourse to the seller.

Callisti thinks this is pretty harsh so takes a more accountable approach to business, after all, the phrase might still be in use but the roman empire collapsed a few thousand moons ago...

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Blog revamp for wishlist news

As a mini-project a few hours were spent playing with the mr moto template on blogger to recreate the likeness of the mywishwand website. Hitherto the blog looked very unbranded but now the style is inkeeping with the generic site design and the mywishwand twitter style.

Some useful tips to get you started on this sort of exercise can be found on various affiliate marketing type sites...

There are also tips here for adding google analytics and various pimp-my-blog techniques.

Monday, 2 November 2009

We are underused #2

Callisti gives big thanks to all those who have helped with the migration of websites and email accounts to our hosting services over the past few months.

It's a time consuming job and requires a deal of knowledge, experience and learning to make sure the end-client has an uninterrupted service.

For anyone who feels their technical support job is towards the browner end of the stick be assured that your work is invaluable...

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival

Callisti is pleased to finally complete the transfer of the DG Arts Festival website and start to manage and maintain the South of Scotland events site.

Lately it's been like running a web removal service; instead of people's possessions being transported from old house to new, it's transferring the hosting service of organisations' websites to a new server. It can be just as stressful!

Comlongon Castle

Having worked on SEO for Comlongon Castle some years ago it's great to get back together with the team to provide a website hosting and management service.

Rather than change for change sake, Callisti aims to streamline the existing web presence and improve the online services for the prestigious Scottish wedding venue. It's a distinctive venue, and with the addition of the new honeymoon lodge, built in a style in-keeping with the historic castle, there are good prospects ahead.

If you're looking for a romantic wedding in a Scottish castle this is well worth checking out.

Allan McNish

Callisti has teamed up with CSS Stellar to provide the web presence for Allan McNish. This is an informative, subscription based website for fans and followers of the successful racing driver who hails from Dumfries and Galloway.

There are some bespoke systems in place on the website which were developed by Peter Graves, a development luminary who Callisti has worked with on several projects to date.

Sledges Upgraded

On 9th September 2009, Joe Brinkman from DotNetNuke Corporation announced that the DotNetNuke 4.x product line had officially reached its End-Of-Life.

The DotNetNuke Corporation is no longer providing support or patches for the 4.x product line, but PowerDNN have assisted Callisti in the upgrade of from v4.8.4 to the more stable v4.9.5, and will continue to provide their high level of support.

Callisti will be looking at moving to v5.x next year but will have to check for potential issues with the legacy version on ASPDotNetStoreFront currently employed by the sledges website.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Wigtown book festival accommodation

Wigtown book festival is an annual event around the end of September/start of October with a rich programme of events over a ten day period.

10 minutes drive away is some self catering cottage accommodation on the old Stewart clan estate, which was sold by the Earl of Galloway in the early 20th century and is now run as an organic dairy farm and Galloway coast holiday venue.

The estate is at Garlieston village, between Whithorn (first Christian settlement in Scotland founded by St. Ninian) and Wigtown. Check out the cottage availability calendar...

Friday, 16 October 2009

Holiday accommodation in Cyprus

Callisti is now working with The Villa Group alongside Goldminedesign to assist in SEO for one of the Cyprus villa booking websites.

Cyprus is a popular island resort in the Mediterranean for Western European and Russian holiday-makers so has a wide appeal. It is also a hotly contested online market for traffic and bookings so a multi-channel SEO strategy is the way forward.

Art events in Dumfries and Galloway

Callisti is pleased to have teamed up with Weesleekit to design and build the new Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival website to be ready for the 2010 calendar of events.

The Arts Festival has been running annually in the region for 30 years and is established in the last week in May. Theatre, comedy, classical and folk music, children's events and film are all part of the events running throughout the region at this time.

The site is still in development so more news will follow...

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


Callisti's sojourn into the world of DotNetNuke was precipitated by a transfer by a former Dodgy Till client and we are happy to take on board the Aviemore-based outdoor shop.

The client has a number of skis, snowboards and sledges websites to server customers in the UK and Europe. Traffic to the sites peak generally in January/February with steady traffic in the winter months and a lower average usage during the summer. Not rocket surgery, really...

We have chosen a US hosting company who specialise in DNN hosting and their support team has been very proactive in servicing us as a new client.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Holiday property repairs and maintenance

Dumfries and Galloway is a region with a variety of rental properties available: there is a significant tourism market for holiday properties and a large rental market with many 2nd home owners making a business out of visitors to the area.

Alongside this there are caravan parks, holiday log cabins, and various holiday park areas.

There are also commercial letting agents that rent general accommodation.

Ewart Property Maintenance provides a repair and maintenance service for a wide range of these properties, from general DIY and maintenance and upkeep, to fitting kitchens and bathrooms.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Busines Adviser in Angus

Just finished a spot of work for Edinburgh company weareunleaded, run by a successful young entrepreneur. The contract was a basic on-site and off-site SEO for a business adviser in Arbroath.

Interestingly the site was built using the smarty templating system so there were a few initial wobbles as we almost broke the website!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Self Catering Log Cabins

One of our website maintenance clients has recently decided to transfer their hosting to Callisti so that all their website management is under one roof.

We are very please to welcome Lochanview on board and hope we can get time off one day to enjoy the hot tub at their lovely self catering log cabins in Kippford, Dumfries and Galloway.

Commercial Vehicle Sales

Clydeside Rentals are now posting commercial vehicles for sale on their website. We're trying out a simple customisation of the wordpress theme to find a friendly way of displaying information, marrying the blog/website information philosophies.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Time-lapse confusion

Timelapse was a video game, this we know. When you type 'timelapse' into google it asks if you meant 'time lapse' but shows results with 'timelapse' and (mainly) 'time-lapse' in the meta title tag. This suggests that 'timelapse' is not really a word in common usage. 'Time lapse' is ambiguous because the definition of usage is loose.

If you enter 'time-lapse' it shows results with all three variations of spelling.

If you enter 'time lapse' it does also but the results vary slightly.

So which keyword should you optimise for?

Well it depends what you mean - semantics!

Some argue that 'time-lapse' refers to time-lapse photography (common usage) - the hyphenation is a way of packaging and individuating the meaning so it becomes shorthand for this filming and photography technique.

'Time lapse' is also used to refer to this but more literally means 'a lapse of time'.

Anyway, for Lobster Pictures we tried to disambiguate time-lapse. Don't know if it will work yet but we'll see...

Friday, 14 August 2009

Data Protection Abuse

Seemingly, website customers private information is bought and sold without their consent by unscrupulous web design companies.

(See external article on "How To Run A Company Into The Ground And Accrue Massive Debts In Just One Year" Ed. haha)

Callisti is concerned at recent events in Dumfries and Galloway where customers of a failed company have been given a like-it-or-lump-it block transfer of all their details and website hosting to a Cumbria based company with only 1 week's notice. No mention is made that pays any respect to patiently loyal customers' privacy and information - or that it's been given to strangers - just a link to a video.

Ruthless cherry-picking or brotherly concern? You decide.

Given that it can take 4-6 weeks for even simple domain name transfers out of a debt-ridden mismanaged business, 1 week's notice isn't much use!

Callisti wishes the best of luck to any hard-working web developer who's just had the rug pulled from under them, but this freeing of shackles may be the catalyst to move to a better working environment.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Hunting and Fishing

Some minor but significant updates to the Raehills hunting and fishing website should see the site pages achieve more relevant cataloguing in google's archives.

The page urls have been tweaked to stay relevant to the page content and the verification tag has been updated so that search data for the site can be monitored.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Domain forwarding

Sometimes the only way of getting the required keywords in the domain name are URL rewriting and 301 redirects to the sans-keyword domain name.

This SEO tool is useful.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Raehills Estate

For those who enjoy a bit of sporting activity, check out Raehills mansion just off the M74 at Junction 15 to Dumfries.

There is shooting, deer stalking and fishing for salmon and sea trout available within the estate grounds and you can stay in the self catering holiday cottages with big gardens to enjoy.

Raehills is the historic seat of the Johnstone Clan and every August the estate hosts the Galloway Country Fair. A must for those of agricultural bent.

Those pesky ghost hunters visited earlier this year but the results were ambiguous...

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Do you want fries with that

Imagine finding that one of your fries had a face on it...

Who said a face can launch a thousand ships - what was that all about?

Anyway there is a whole world of planet fry going to happen apparently - who knows what is in store...

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Leith Library Exhibition

Callisti is proud to support local artists at the Edinburgh Festival.

Keith Thompson is exhibiting paintings as part of a Leith Library Exhibition from 20th July - 8th August 2009.


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Blood from a stone

Sometimes in life you have to deal with people or organisations unable to carry out any task with any thoroughness or efficiency, either deliberately or because they are simply incapable.

Latest sites in a long line of rescuees are:

Motors Local - a resource for buying and selling cars in South West Scotland. This also carries pages for Troqueer Garage and Top Ten Models (phew!)

Dumfries Bed and Breakfast - currently a simple contact marketing poster for the Abarglen Bed and Breakfast in Dumfries but with designs to become a more useful resource for tourism in the region.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Fancy an Italian?

When Ivano first arrived in Scotland over 20 years ago from The Tuscan town of Lucca, he brought with him a knowledge of Tuscan Italian cuisine and a skill for home made cooking.

Little did he realise that he was to meet a man from Callisti through forces unknown and end up with a website to help with the marketing of the already successful Italian food take away business in Dumfries.

Callisti can fervently recommend the Penne Speciale, the Pollo Salsa Rosa (or Surfer Rosa as we sometimes call it in our throwback ways), and the pizza bases. Pizza eaters may know what this means.

They also have a holiday home in Tuscany that is available to rent should you ever need to visit North West Italy and the home of the renaissance in Florence or whatever...

Monday, 13 July 2009

External Links

One of the strategies of SEO is building a relevant network of external links to the target website(s). Now, how to do this without being spammy?

A genuine strategy is to optimise the site in question, submit it to the relevant engines, find related sites and cultivate links from them, build supplementary sites on different servers and link from them, engage in social networking stimulating interest and discussion, make use of all the different search channels (images, local business listing, video, news) and generate relevant and timely press releases as appropriate.

You can then embark on a paid strategy using the major search engine sponsored link programmes but this is best used in tandem with organic SEO as it disappears as quickly as it appears.

But the genuine strategy often seems like pissing in the wind unless you can get access to a strong existing link source. How to do this? Answers on a blogcard please...

Thursday, 9 July 2009

All things Tesla

Remember Command and Conquer? Tiberian Sun? I used to love getting a base built up with an matrix of Tesla Coils (and several power stations) to take out incoming hostiles...

Also O.M.D. had a song called Tesla Girls - I always wondered what that was about when I was younger...

Friday, 26 June 2009

Online shopping for busy parents

Since the last round of development updates, MyWishWand is now easier to use, and works by letting you create and share gift wishlists - normally by parents for children.

We are currently building up the adwords campaign to target specific landing pages so that visitors can navigate quickly to what they're looking for.

If you're stuck for gift ideas there's now a wider selection of lists for events such as baby showers and christenings. The gift-finder tool is another way you can find the "perfect gift" – based on the recipients age, gender and interests.

Members now get access to money-saving offers from retailers including Graham and Greene, Early Learning Centre, Boden, John Lewis, Waterstones, etc.

The celebrity approvals so far have come from Jools Oliver and Mr & Mrs Johnny Vaughan and there have been write ups in Daily Candy Kids, Country & Town House magazine, Junior and Practical Parenting as well as YummyMummyJobs.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Personal Health and Fitness

This is a litmus test for an Edinburgh-based Personal Health Screening provider. The market is a mixture of employers requiring employee health checks and private individuals needing professional health and fitness testing and advice.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Emotional Freedom

The Delves personal training website finally went live today after a lot of finishing touches. Callisti played a key role in the organic SEO strategy for this site starting with the initial design and development.

The site offers training courses for Managing Workplace Stress, EFT or Emotional Freedom Techniques, NLP for practitioners, and many other personal and corporate courses which you can book online.

When to use Adwords as SEM

We recently got a number of requests for online partnerships from adwords-based URLs so it seemed appropriate to add more detail on what our position is towards using sponsored links as part of a search engine marketing (SEM) strategy.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Florida Holiday Villa for the family

The Clydeside Rentals website now has the holiday accommodation aspect of the business included.

Interesting mixture of florida resort images and tipping trailers but the holiday rental side of things is sectioned off so that the holiday cottages in Scotland and the family villa in the Tuscan Hills resort, Davenport, Florida USA, have their own pages.

One aspect of the design template is that sub page menus aren't obvious so it doesn't allow for a page heirarchy without hacking.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Trailer Hire in Scotland

One of the SEO challenges we face is focussing a website by domain name to the subject area it contains. The interesting case of Clydeside Rentals is that the company rent both trailers and tractor units for commercial hire, as well as holiday home rentals both in Scotland and Florida.

The domain would support both to some extent but it means the website will be fish and fowl. I would normally recommend that each theme is developed as a distinct web entity as it makes more sense to structure information this way - it's rumoured that categorical distinctions are relevant to large search engine indexing.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Galloway Tourism

South West Scotland is characterised by rolling uplands, cattle and dairy farming, sheep farming and forestation. The ubiquitous industry is tourism which takes advantage of natural features and wildlife.

Inland there are mountain bike trails (7 stanes), hill walking tracks (Southern Upland Way), and many historical monuments, most notably relating to Robert the Bruce (Earl of Carrick and Galloway).

On the coastline, which goes from the Solway estuary at Gretna (the border between Scotland and England), along past Auchencairn Bay (Dalbeattie), Kirkcudbright Bay, Whithorn Bay, Luce Bay and Portpatrick (on that iconic peninsula associated with the ports of Stranraer and Cairnryan), there are protected environments for breeds of birds such as at Caerlaverock, and many small sailing and boating clubs dotted along the beaches and bays.

Given that much of the visiting trade to the region is tourism-related, and latterly location-related (such as film companies requiring rural landscapes), there are many small accommodation providers that rely on internet marketing.

The latest requiring Callisti services have been the Annandale Arms Hotel in Moffat and Galloway House Estate in Garlieston, each being established accommodation providers in the region. We carry out SEO work for such websites as well as basic web design and content updates to ensure they keep getting found.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Rudimentary SEO

We have placed this handy guide to SEO on the Callisti website. It's criminal that the site update isn't finished yet but clients come first :)

A Hotel in Moffat

We have now improved the image SEO facility for the Annandale Arms Hotel in Moffat. The image upload feature allows for the original image filename to be preserved as the image is resized during thumbnail creation on the server.

There are some other SEO strategies we'd like to put in place but it may require a change in the hosting service.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

European elections

Who you vote for is a matter for your own conscience. That said, I've been doing some work on the Mike Russell MSP website, based on a nice Atahualpa theme. The theme administration is a class above so well worth checking out...

One feature of the site is RSS feeds for Mike's voting history and his Parliamentary Questions which took a bit of fiddling to create successfully using a combination of,, and some feed-building tips.

It's reassuring to know that the information on our elected representatives is there but you have to go data mining for the more juicy stuff.

Tip for the day: always remember to sort out your application pools in IIS before tearing your hair out with URL rewriting on a Windows server.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Web analytics vs people

Callisti loves this blog.

If you want good insight in to web analytics, return on investment (ROI), organisational challenges facing clients and how to manage data, this is yer man.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A Scottish Perspective

We've been playing around with a newspaper style blog for the Dumfries SNP (Scottish National Party) website. The site is aimed at providing a platform for highlighting local issues in the town and region to engage the residents of the area.

It can also act as an advocate for the wishes of the community by allowing contributions from interested readers.

Still some work to be done on the blog design to incorporate video footage, clips and more information...

Friday, 22 May 2009

Late crop summer potatoes

JBA Seed Potato customers should now have received the first potato newsletter with information on ensuring a healthy crop over the summer.

There are also autumn and winter harvest potatoes which can be planted in July in time for Christmas.

The newsletter is a simple interface in the management section of the website which draws from subscribers to the newsletter (who also received discount voucher to buy potatoes) and has a simple unsubscribe feature to ensure that those who prefer not to receive such things can opt out.

There were over a thousand recipients to the first e-mailshot which shows just how far the website has come since the ecommerce site launched.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

We are illuminated

Well it took a couple of days longer than we thought but that allowed for some final feedback and tweaks to improve the eProjectorLamps website functionality.

This is a portfolio design so the web design and web development team Callisti brought together for this project should be proud. Lots of use of jquery and vb script, moving away from the previous php incarnation, have made this into a more direct, search based ecommerce site.

A nice feature is the credit account option for public service bodies, schools, colleges and government offices so that they can be part of the eprocurement scheme for local authorities when buying projector lamps and replacement bulbs online.

All the projector manufacturers and models, e.g. Epson Cinema 200 lamp for projectors, can be found using the home page search filter or by navigating using the 'more from this manufacturer' links. You can also enter the projector lamp part code or model number to find the bulb you are looking for.

Friday, 15 May 2009

All things Burns

The arts festival in Dumfries and Galloway kicks off on the 22nd May with a group of events celebrating the life and work of Robert Burns who died (and is buried) in Dumfries.

A lot of the press releases from the Arts Festival are picking up on the (debatable) VisitScotland 'Homecoming Scotland' tourism strategy which celebrates the 250th birthday of the Bard.

Tickets for the events can now be bought online at the festival website who recently advertised on the local ITV television channel...

Thursday, 7 May 2009

They call it projection

You know when you do or say things in a roundabout way to distance yourself from them but the same message, at least once removed, comes across? Projection.

That aside, Callisti is currently working on a lovely design and build for a projector lamp supplier who needed to sweep out the dead wood and breathe new life into the competitive world of replacement bulbs.

The user interface is being tested and is behaving across the browsers, and the website should be able to handle a variety of product feeds from suppliers to stay agile in a changing market.

Oh and if you ever hear someone say "future proof" with any seriousness when trying to sell a technology-based idea, ignore everything they say from that point on...

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

National Vegetable Society

April 28 issue of the Garden News features a preview by Medwyn Williams of the National Vegetable Society's Championships which will be part of the Dundee Flower Show.

Jamieson Brothers of Annan (JBA), and in particular, Iain Barbour, have been resurrecting vintage exhibition potato varieties, such as Armour and Sherine, and are also sponsoring the event in 2010.

Good news for Callisti as Iain's potato website continues to expand and JBA are able to keep updating new and existing content for the very season sensitive market.

Free range chickens

The organic farm in Liddesdale valley now has more than a holding page for a website...

The price list for organic produce and free range chickens, beef and pork is due an update so be aware if you're ordering anything in the next few days.

Apparently home-grown hogget (2 year old sheep) is the best eating, according to farmers - I'd heard of mutton and lamb but hogget was new to me. My shame!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Search results - Organic vs Adwords

Confused? This is humanity's normal state of being.

Google organic search results seem to be influenced by whether or not Google Adwords are running. "I thought that it said in the Google Bible that you couldn't buy position in the organic search results, only in the sponsored ads section?", I hear you say.

Well, happily states:

"Search results appear on the left side of the page. It is important to note that Google does not accept payment to place websites or documents in search results. However, advertisers can purchase Google AdWords ads, which appear on the right side of the page, and sometimes above the search results."

What do you want me to do about it?

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Old fashioned values

Some basic SEO do's:

Think about your domain name and how information is going to be structured on your website. Use each page on your site to deal with specific aspects of your content. Try not to duplicate content but make use of anchor text links to the relevant page within your site. Visit wikipedia.

Research your web audience. What keywords are people using to find information contained on your website. Are you trying to reach a local audience who know your brand? A national audience who doesn't know who you are but wants a service that you provide? Think about it.

Don't assume that strangers to your website will know what you're trying to say. Spell it out - explain acronyms, describe your process, define your terms. You'll find that keywords will occur naturally when you write your copy like this.

Use meta tags to help categorise each web page clearly for visiting search engine robots and crawlers. The more unique and relevant the meta tags and content are, the more relevant your page will be for searches using those keywords.

Remember that search engines can't see images or videos but they can read filenames and descriptions and tags surrounding such media. Everything on your website should be considered as "indexable" in some way.

Some basic SEO don't's:

Keyword stuffing - why do this? It's ugly, unreadable and unnatural. Would you like to visit a site like this or would you be suspicious?

Overuse of bold text - see above.

Hidden links - this is ugly and suspect to search engines as they see things we don't. Websites can be penalised for shady tactics.

Link schemes - links between relevant sites are good but trying to generate millions of irrelevant links is long term bad. Links to and from your site should help enmesh your website in a relevant context of websites and related information, not background fuzzy noise.

Duplicate content on different domains - generating unique content and web copy is work and "copy and paste" can seem attractive at the time but this can dilute your pages' unique relevance to a subject and can be un-user-friendly if many pages are identical.

Google webmaster tools is worth checking out - remember what Google does shapes the way we use the web - learn what you can from their advice.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Change your face today

Your website is your company's face. What sort of expression is on that face?

Are you communicating effectively? Remember your face is being read by friends, strangers and robots continuously.

Wanna talk about it? Contact our
SEO and website management service

(Just testing the email to blog service offered by Blogger)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Time Lapse

Losing a dedicated server for 3 days due to bad service is no joke and even though the problem was unusual it still took too long to fix.

In my brain it would have been good if this whole process could have been captured by time lapse photography (this is lame, I know) so that the film of the sequence could have been condensed into an amusing video format, a byte-size chunk, if you will, for all the 3-minute-pop-song attention spans out there.

Outside of my brain, the reality would have been better served by taking a sturdy time lapse camera, along with a will to exact vengeful, indiscriminate, furious damage, to the programmed heads of the helpless drones that form the building blocks of multi-level telephone support desk systems for large companies.

But I had other stuff to do and my prolonged spitting rage was soon tempered by the frustrated, learned-helplessness of a human individual trying to interact with a system. Chalk and cheese, or maybe a 'category mistake'?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Bad website hosting

'Issue first reported to FastHosts 11 April 2009 at 15:22 BST
Issue unresolved for 3 days, 19 hours and 41 minutes'

Callisti is disgruntled and angry at the poor level of service from Fasthosts with the dedicated server hosting. The reason for choosing this hosting provider was to maximise the chance of 99.9% uptime. Right now we've got 100% downtime as the server is powered down.

All was well until Easter Saturday when a complete loss of service and connection to the network was experienced. Unbelievably this is still the case and engineers are still reported to be looking at the problem.

The current diagnosis is hardware failure of a network card which is taking 3 days to replace. Many Callisti customers are experiencing loss of service for their websites and email and we can only apologise for this.

Fasthosts have acknowledged that the problem is at their end but the speed at which they are addressing the problem is lamentable.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Google Ad variations

Callisti has been optimising adword account ad variations for time lapse photography suppliers, Lobster Pictures, and is noticing an almost immediate improvement in CTR (Click through rate) and a reduction in CPC (Cost per click).

The best way to do this is to target the ad to the most relevant content, which usually means pages on the website aside from the homepage. By using the Ad structure you can match the search string closer to the Ad title and related the keywords in the ad copy to the landing page.

This is logical as the keyword relevance in the ad should match the keywords of the landing page. Otherwise you're not targeting your Ads very accurately!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Page Rank update

Thought it was an April Fool, but noticed after some optimisation work that Google had re-cached the Callisti pages and the SEO website is now PR4. G'night...

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The future of Scottish music

Sometimes a sweet fusion has to be shared...

This could be the way to unite the Scottish shortbread tin history niche with a more international music flavour and bring it in to the new decade.

Jimmy Shand vs 50 Cent indeed

Monday, 30 March 2009

Badger Surveys in Dumbartonshire

Stuart Spray Wildlife Consultancy is carrying out badger surveys in Dumbartonshire this weather. They are also concentrating bat surveys in Glasgow, and bat surveys in Perthshire.

This is in line with SEO Geo-targeting updates to the website content. Throughout the year the survey work will be carried out in different areas of the UK so the content and news needs to be updated to reflect this.

If we stick to this strategy we can measure how effective this is and how quick the response is with search engines and resulting traffic.

Planting potatoes

Using a different IP address, even on the same server, is a way of creating external links to a website. We thought we'd try this with planting potatoes - a way of siphoning off specific content into a mini-website and then linking back to a client's ecommerce site where relevant products can be bought.

Chitting potatoes - now there's a phrase I never thought I'd use.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Time Lapse

Currently doing a spot of work for Lobster Pictures, the Bristol-based time lapse experts. They have their own 'Lobster Pot' wireless time lapse cameras that are especially useful for construction site monitoring over time.

There is some excellent time lapse footage in their showreel. The timelapse journey by train reminds me of an old Cure video for 'Another Journey By Train' oddly enough.

There is a Lobster Picture channel on Vimeo which has a whole bunch of time lapse and video work - worth a cheeky look.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Script free opacity

I was fooling around with the Callisti Logo and decided to make all the green squares useful in some way. Rather that start using scripts and alternative images I was able to use CSS and some opacity styling courtesy of a good resource by Mandarin Design.

You'll see that each colour uses opacity when rolled over and the links are consistent in a colour coded way. It's very out of your face (as opposed to in your face) so might be too subtle unless a visitor moves or sweeps their pointer over the logo.

Some other content updates have been made, e.g. updating the privacy statement to keep in line with Google, and some content and meta tag updates to reflect the organic shift in services that we offer.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Holiday Cottages in Galloway

Another loverly self catering holiday cottage provider in Galloway joined the Callisti group recently and will enjoy a speedier and helpful website service that they weren't getting from their last provider.

The restored Victorian cottages on the Galloway estate feature enclosed gardens and stable courtyards. You can check availability online and use the booking enquiry system to contact the estate for a holiday in the South West of Scotland.

A domain transfer that could have taken minutes was stretched out over about 5 weeks as mysterious invoices suddenly appeared, confusing hosting charges were quoted, and a general poor response to support requests was noted. Not to worry - karma and all that...

Monday, 16 March 2009

Organic Farm in the Scottish Borders

Current website development news:

Organic meat from Liddesdale Selection is a website outlining the farm produce and services of a farm in Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders.

The web design is being signed off and will be converted to xhtml and css compliant brochure website for the organic farm produce in the first instance.

We'll then monitor and move on to developing an ecommerce website as required with any SEO work ongoing.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Garden Hammock

Callisti is working on the seasonal hammock project for a local Galloway company and embracing Actinic 9 as an ecommerce solution.

The website design is trying to capture a fresh outdoor feel which should be an improvement to the legacy look of the original website.

Interestingly, the search term 'hammocks' is very seasonal especially in the UK and we are now noticing the rising traffic to the website as the spring equinox approches. Some of the Adwords tools from PPCBully, keywordcountry and show the value of a click for this keyword and also who the competitors are. Tough market!

As usual we will be applying Callisti SEO philosophy to the site so that the internal housekeeping assists in keeping CPC down and ROI up.

Hypnotherapy Treatment

Currently we're working on a personal consultation and training website that is based on hypnotherapy and the use of hypnosis techniques to deal with stress, helping to quit smoking and performance anxiety.

The back end has been developed to allow online course booking with secure payment and has a user area where registered users can log in to administrate.

There is an Callisti SEO friendly philosophy behind this so even the image names are aiming for search engine friendliness!

Managing conflict
is another course on offer which could be a growth industry in the current economic climate...

Wednesday, 4 March 2009



Logging into google's webmaster tools now gives the option to set the geographical target, the preferred URL ( instead of - this helps consolidate data gathered in analytics for landings the home page), Image search options (include your site images in google results), and crawl rate.

The geographical target can be selected providing you have a top level domain such as .com, .org, but not for "country specific" domains. Imagine where this could lead, the blossoming Edinburgh virtual office provider!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


What could be more idyllic than swinging idly in a hammock on a sunny afternoon?

It's a subjective thing, granted, but there is that image in the mind. Callisti is now working on a project for Handmade Hammocks, based near Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway, with SEO work and a complete redesign of their Actinic-based shop.

This will be ongoing work and we hope for a productive relationship with our new clients!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Italian Food

I remember an episode of Seinfeld (the calzone) where George starts bringing calzones to work much to the enjoyment of his boss. Mmm. Luckily for me I can phone Ivanos Italian Food and order up some calzone of my own.

The service is for an Italian take away and home delivery service which is currently very popular offline. The usual range of Italian food such as pizza, penne pasta, panini, as well as Ivano Specials are all worth trying over and over again.

The new website will be ... well you'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Independent Financial Advisers in Troon

In these testing times it is good to take stock (of your stock) and review your financial planning. Duncan Brown and Co are a hardworking team based in Dumfries and Troon who offer a range of advice on financial products including protection, pensions, mortgages and inheritance tax planning.

Each member of the team is registered with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and details are on the Our Advisers page.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Fancy a Hummer in Carlisle

This has been a journey of interest - installing wordpress on a Callisti server and then configuring it to behave kind of like a regular website but with added widgets. In a way the back end is more interesting than the front!

There is a flash slideshow plugin based on the NextGen image galleries and aside from some email settings on the server and a lot of CSS editing I've been impressed with the scope for individuation from the Wordpress community.

The next part is testing the site and getting the content and up-to-date images uploaded as well as the google account duties.

sitemap.xml CHMOD 777 and all that...

Friday, 16 January 2009

Virtual office edinburgh

Quick update: Contact details are now available for the Virtual Office provider in Edinburgh. Phone number to follow...

Friday, 9 January 2009

Domain names was cached in google on 5th January but searching for the .me domain brings up a suggestion to search for domain instead. The concern is that .me domains aren't automatically given ranking status in google without a serious amount of linkage.

It does show up when searching for virtuo receptionist but that is an unlikely search, let's face it.

Recommendation: acquire .com and or domain, or use an alternative relevant domain? It still doesn't explain why .me domain names are penalized but where the site is hosted can affect the performance of domain suffixes.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Birthday gift ideas

Jumbo PageRank bonus at New Year boosted the gifts ideas and wish lists, or MyWishWand's, status to PR3 from 0.

This should mean the site will now start to draw more attractive traffic and some Callisti SEO recommendations were carried out by Osborne Brook developers so looking forward to better news this year.

Arts Festival publicity

Homecoming year for Scotland based on Robert Burns and the number 250 means that publicity for events in Dumfries and Galloway region will be tied into this initiative to some extent.

I guess the pound is weak so Scotland is as attractive a place as any for non-UK visitors, especially ex-pat Scots looking for a reason to return to the homeland.

That aside, the site has had some updates and now validates properly. The big Christmas pagerank bonus also saw the dgartsfestival blog site get a cheeky 2.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Virtuo So?

Working in conjunction with Smash IT in Edinburgh brought about the Virtual Office Services website that launches in January 2009.

The services include secretarial, receptionist and office administration all in a virtual sense so that businesses can outsource that aspect of their projects to concentrate on client facing activities and networking.

One thing Callisti likes is the backup services image for Smash-It!