I distinctly remember visiting offices as a child with clocks on the wall with time zones from major cities like London, Paris, New York & Tokyo – so to help with working from home the kids have made some but with meal times on 😂
Working in partnership with the
UK’s first Business Improvement District (BID), The Web Orchard have
contributed to the ongoing success of the ‘Keep It Kingston’ campaign developed
by not-for-profit membership organisation, Kingston First.
Launched in 2017, the Keep It
Kingston scheme offers multiple benefits to members; including free marketing
opportunities through which to promote their brands and businesses as well as fantastic
benefits for their employees that provide them with exclusive discounts across
Originally launched as a card with
a directory of offers on a section of the Kingston First website (which was also
designed and built by The Web Orchard), the Keep It Kingston initiative
experienced fast success and quickly grew amongst Kingston First’s members and
employees; over 13,000 cards were in circulation in 2019. With greater traffic
going through the Kingston First website to access information on the Keep It
Kingston scheme, the management team decided to reconsider the customer journey
that their online users were experiencing, Kirsten Henly, Chief Executive at
Kingston First comments:
“As the scheme grew, and following
feedback from our members and users, we decided to evolve the scheme and
provide a fully digital Keep it Kingston function. Our priorities were to make
the scheme more user-friendly and create a platform which enabled understand
more clearly how the service was performing and being used. We tasked The Web
Orchard with creating a bespoke Keep It Kingston App and a linked website. The Web
Orchard were already our existing chosen partner with respect to our main B2B website,
so we had no hesitation in turning to them for help with this new project.”
Pete White Director at The Web
“Further to designing and building
the website to enable Kingston First to promote themselves, the town and the
businesses within the BID, we very quickly saw an opportunity to increase reach,
accessibility and interactivity for the Keep It Kingston scheme via the
development of a complementary App. Applicable for iPhone and Android devises,
the new App enables Kingston’s business community to quickly and easily take
advantage of the array of money saving opportunities developed by Kingston
On the new App and her experience
of working with The Web Orchard, Kirsten concludes:
“The new App has been
overwhelmingly popular and well received by our members, with 5,000 users on
board in just 3 months. It’s one of our most accessed services which is great
for both members who have employees using the scheme and for members who are
“The Web Orchard team took the time
to understand our goals and have translated our brief into an excellent
product. We continue to work with The Web Orchard on further developments for
the App and benefit from their insight and straightforward approach to
problem-solving, alongside supporting us to get the best out of App for our
I want to quickly mention a piece of software I’ve been using for a while – with the increase in remote working we’ve been inundated with various communications software whether it’s MS Teams, Skype, What’s App, Slack or Facebook.
All want to install new pieces of software or fill up browser tabs making it difficult to track where notifications are coming from.
Franz groups the various services together in one application. Simply install then add the services you use – all notifications are then routed through one app (and can be muted) and you know that all your communication is in one place.
Just over six years ago we took over the news site Iraq Business News and its associated publications in Iran in Libya. We’ve seen the rise and fall of Isis and the knock-on effects that has caused for people and business.
In that time the Iraq website has received almost 10 million page views from 2.4 million users in 217 countries. The weekly newsletters for all three sites have been read a huge 1.7 million times.
The site survives thanks to its sponsors and with stats like the above we like to feel we have a strong value proposition – for more see… www.iraq-businessnews.com
Born and raised in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, I’ve spent my career in the IT/Web industry. At school I took a keen interest in computers & the internet and it was here I started my first blog. Over two decades later the website is still going strong.
In 2003 I set up a web hosting company whilst at University – Switchweb. I graduated in 2006 from Coventry University with a first class honours degree in Computer Science.
I joined Information Solutions Ltd in the summer 2006 and worked up the ranks to a director. The company has won many awards and delivers IT support services to a range of businesses and non-profit organisations.
I also set up and run a successful web agency, The Web Orchard, we’ve built a reputation for developing complex web applications for organisations around the world.
My side projects include Love Shrewsbury and Iraq Business News. The latter has received over 10 million page views and its newsletter has been read over 1.7million times since we took over the site in 2014.
I’ve been involved with ShropGeek for a number of years and have helped organise the three (R)Evolution conferences as well as numerous smaller events.
In 2010 I published my first book, Travel Photography showcasing some of my photography from around the world.
Day to day I spend most of my time coordinating projects from our office in the centre of Shrewsbury.
I was cleaning out my pictures folder earlier and came across the below screenshot. Five years ago a customer approached us wanting a new website ready for their appearance on the BBC show Dragons Den – the only problem – the show aired on prime time BBC2 in 2 weeks time.
Not to want to miss such a great opportunity we pulled out all the stops to get the site designed, built and populated with only a few hours to spare. The next problem – what to do if the 3 million people watching the show wanted to visit the site?
Fortunately, in our planning we had separated the front-end homepage & product pages from the shopping cart functionality based on the assumption most people would simply want to check out the company rather than purchase its products.
We configured Drupal to generated static pages then used Cloudflare to cache our assets for a long period. The result was that the 250,000 visits the site got over a 90 min period were almost all served up with content from the Cloudflare network and the company received more orders in that period then they normally would in a month.
The achievement for me wasn’t that we got the site designed and built in such as short period, its that we kept it up, loading fast and fully exploited all the PR the show had given the company.
So access to the office is flooded again and most of Shrewsbury is too. River is set to go up a further half a meter tomorrow so could be the end of the week before we get back in 🧐😬😫. This is Smithfield road, I couldn’t get anywhere near the office without a boat.
As part of our commitment to help local organisations we offered to help out with the website hosting of Oswestry Based specialist treatment provider The Movement Centre.
Dedicated to supporting children and their families living with movement disabilities, the small team based within the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital in Gobowen, provide specialist therapy to children across the County and beyond.
Of the support provided by The Web Orchard, The Movement Centre’s Chief Executive Victoria Handbury-Madin comments:
“The Movement Centre are extremely grateful to The Web Orchard for their support. As a charity we need to raise funds to cover our costs and to enable us to continue to support children with movement disabilities, so that they can reach their full potential. By providing free web hosting and support for our website, The Web Orchard have helped us to reduce our overheads, meaning even more of the funds we raise can go directly to supporting our vital work, delivering our specialist therapy and supporting our families. In 2019 The Movement Centre lost all NHS funding due to cuts, so support like The Web Orchard means more to us than ever!”
September 2002, I’m hosting my first LAN party in my parents garage on table tennis tables covered with decorating sheets. Our games of choice, Team Fortress Classic and Counter Strike on our huge CRT monitors and beautiful bage coloured PCs.
It was days like this where I developed my passion for IT, a passion I still have today. Learning skills like DNS and routing, all to make sure we were all on the same version of the game to play together.
And before any comments – that is me on the right.