Over the coming weeks The Floating Frog is going to be rebranded and relaunched into a new site, repositioned to sell digital design and development services. Currently, and for the last 4 or so years, it has served proudly as a web design blog, bringing together the thoughts and experience of I, Gary Hartley, on all topics surrounding CSS, HTML, UI/UX, jQuery and so on. I’ve even had help along the way by a few friends whose posts have been both informative and well received. The new site will still host this blog but the emphasis will be put more on the products and services we will be offering. These are exciting times for me (The Floating Frog) and I hope you will join me in toasting to new endeavors and future success.
What did I do before starting The Floating Frog?
Well in summary I’ve been lucky enough to serve the last 10 years in 2 great digital agencies after training for 4 years in Graphic Design. My first role was in a start-up web design company called Save9 who was founded by two fine gentlemen. I was originally offered a temporary summer work placement that would take me up to the start of my top-up degree but with the ever growing success of the business and the opportunity I saw developing for me I decided to stay. Save9 branched out into 9 core product and service offers and more role became extremely diverse and exciting. Some of these offerings included VoIP systems, Bluetooth marketing, cinema touch-screen systems, data mining, eCommerce websites, mobile solutions and more. We were invited to the grand opening of Apollo Cinemas flagship cinema outlet which opened in London’s Piccadilly Circus and attended by a hat full of celebrities and the Countess of Wessex. Apollo Cinemas were the first privately owned cinema chain to go full non poster based advertising in their outlets and we were responsible to installing all the technical hardware plus delivering the rich media. We also traveled to the Cine Expo in Amsterdam to sell the concept to companies like Kodak and Coca Cola.
After nearly 5 years at Save9, I moved to Harrogate and became Senior Web Designer at 9xb, a full service digital agency. This role enabled me to specialise in online solutions and consolidate me UI/UX design skills while delivering bespoke solutions to clients that maximised their ROI and helped them engage with their customers better. I worked directly with some big brands yet gained more pleasure when I had the chance to work on new start-up projects as I could help turn a clients new vision into reality, rather than simply completing a to-do list for a worker bee at a larger company.
I have now gone full time freelance and work closely with a group of highly trained and experienced freelancers. In the 3 monthly since, we have already created an impact and are gaining a great reputation with the clients with have served. We have also worked with a few other agencies who outsource a lot of their work to us so I’m glad we can deliver such a service.
Plans for The Floating Frog
Primarily The Floating Frog will act like a shop window for our services, our work and our blog. We’ll use it to advertise our services straight to the end client and slowly cut down on the agency work as we get more established. One of our core strengths is our WordPress expertise. We seem to be getting a lot of job offers from agencies who have won a WordPress job but don’t have the skills to do it. I’d say 70% of our work at the moment is connected in some way to WordPress so there is obviously a real demand for it. It’s also important to educate both clients and agencies about the pro’s and con’s of WordPress and to help eliminate the dated persona that WordPress isn’t a via CMS and is just an insecure, low featured blogging platform.
We don’t just work with WordPress, but if a project is geared up to use it then I’d recommend it every time. For eCommerce sites and larger projects that require for of a bespoke solution then we work with the client and scope out the entire project and advise from there.
We have also started a premium WordPress themes company called FrogsThemes.com. This is where we develop off the shelf WordPress themes that are priced at the entry level market. So far it’s been a great success and we’ll soon be hitting the 1,000 premium WordPress themes download mark which is fantastic news. We also offer a lite version of the themes to give users the change to try before they buy. These lite versions are the same as the premium versions but without a few advanced features and support. These are very popular and we’ve already exceeded 20,000 downloads of those themes, amazing to think.
Core service offerings
These are still to be decided but in essence we all agree that we want to offer the full service to our clients so we can maximise their potential impact and growth after launch while gaining a good return on their investment. We already know the market is saturated with companies claiming to offer a full service but it’s important for us not to follow but more to specialise and be innovators in what we do best.
This is potentially just an initial idea of the logo but we all agree it works pretty well for us. The pixelated frog (digital) in the center of the speech bubble (discussion and consultancy) with the name and tagline “Handcrafted websites”. Principally we’ll be focusing on websites, user interfaces, with great semantic and cosmetic builds that are positioned with SEO in mind. We’ll be cutting out the middleman and the bullshit most clients have to deal with when hiring an agency and focusing our efforts on delivering an end product that full filling the clients objectives, meeting timescales and budgets and ultimately is a pleasure to work on, for both the team and the client.
What do you think of the logo? It has potential to adopt colour and animation on hover and in other mediums but as a basis it’s good to see it stripped right back.
So hold tight, and come back soon. We are aiming to have the new site designed, built and setup in the next month or so. If you have any suggestions, comments, advice or spare staplers we’d love to hear from you….. oh L00k, we have comments enabled below 😉
P.S. I haven’t checked for grammar or spelling mistakes in this blog post so please pull me up on any you see, I know you’re dying too!