Web designer Great Yarmouth is staying put

%name Web designer Great Yarmouth

We recently had an impulsive (and rash) idea to sell the family home here in Bradwell, Great Yarmouth. This web designer Great Yarmouth had itchy feet, again.

Our son has left home and we feel the house is no longer the same, since he went (or was sent) to university.

Our heads had been turned by the thought of living in Norwich city centre. I’d gone as far as writing the listing, getting a professional photographer and friend in (Matthew Clarke) and launching it with my other business interest, Nest in Norfolk.

Web Designer Great Yarmouth or Norwich?

I’d also started researching Norwich web design as a search engine term.

I had romanticised visions of being perched in a city centre apartment. Balcony doors ajar, whilst I knock out affordable WordPress websites for start ups, SMEs and the like.

Firstly, however, this vision was scotched by an impromptu trip to Norwich at night. The article I penned on LinkedIn caused consternation and approval in equal measure. I called it, you see, a Jekyll and Hyde city.

A fine city by day and not so fine at night, to be tactful.

You can find the article on my open LinkedIn profile here – unless, of course, I’ve blocked you.

Why we changed our minds

Unlike so many people who are now spouting “leave means leave” we decided to stay here in Great Yarmouth, because actually we like living here.

I don’t hold with the Brexit mantra that a vote was binding in 2016 – when we saw openly, for instance, what city centre life was like at night, we did a volte face.

Never mind that all four in the household voted for it; the two adults decided to revoke the move and stay in Bradwell.

Firstly, it’s actually a great place to live – near Gorleston and Great Yarmouth.

Secondly, crime and anti-social behaviour seems non-existent.

Finally, I’m established locally as a copywriter and web designer; daughter goes to high school nearby and wife works close to home too.

Great Yarmouth is under-rated

Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to live in Great Yarmouth’s town centre. I don’t want to live in Norwich city centre. Its appeal faded on a midnight wander. Norwich is a great city in lots of ways, but as a place to live?

No.

Great Yarmouth has some wonderful suburbs. Belton, Burgh Castle, Bradwell, Caister, Filby etc are all great places. We spent 8 happy years in Gorleston. That is a much under-rated town too.

We have beaches. The countryside is empty and vast. The pace of life is slow. The quality of life is excellent.

We were, of course, daft, with hindsight.

Great Yarmouth has been good to me

My friend Matthew, for example, said this. He’s right too. Great Yarmouth has been good to me, as a place to live and make a living.

Firstly, I’ve designed websites for many big companies and individuals based here. I get asked constantly to do more for local firms as a reputable and affordable web designer Great Yarmouth.

For example, I designed local websites for:

  • Fairway Lakes at Caldecott Hall
  • Dabbrook Engineering on Harfreys
  • 3 Sun Group on the other side of the A47
  • Envision CAD and Envision Engineering
  • Crespire Creations on Bells Road, Gorleston
  • Electro Tech on Beacon Park
  • Nest in Norfolk
  • Social 100
  • St Nicholas Nursery in Great Yarmouth
  • Old Hall Hotel in Caister
  • Deja Brew Café in Gorleston
  • Fishergate Apartments (in Norwich)
  • Makers Café in Norwich
  • JS Swimming Pools (for Danny in Gorleston)

Why would I sacrifice all this? Why would I give up this network of connections I’ve developed locally?

To go all northern, it was bloody daft.

Web Designer Great Yarmouth at your service

I am a fickle type, you know that perhaps.

I do have a varied career since going self employed. For example, as an estate agent, then writer, then web designer. But I will say this.

Norwich is a 35 minute drive away. We intend to stay in Bradwell. I plan to please more local companies with writing, estate agency and web design services from my home office.

An office kitted out with desk, chairs and cabinet from other local friends: Olly, Tom and Danny from Pink Office on Beacon Park.

If you are looking for a graduate copywriter, an affordable WordPress web designer, a social media manager, contact me today.

Because, despite this declaration of intent, next week, next month or next year, I may have another madcap moving idea.

So be forewarned!

If you need a web designer Great Yarmouth, get in touch.

Yesterday, Gorleston high street seemed so far away.

Gorleston, Gorleston-on-Sea, is a place we’ve now lived in for 11 years and quite frankly loved living in.

It’s a town that’s changed beyond recognition from when we first upped sticks. We moved initially to Jenner Road, on the Paget Estate. This was followed by a long stint on Elmgrove Road, with so many architecturally diverse properties. 

Gorleston High Street

It was a High Street 11 years ago that was ok. But wouldn’t have you picking it over a short hop to Great Yarmouth, but its development has been remarkable. There’s some very quirky independent businesses there, amongst the chains, that are doing well:

What is Hip? 

Bellyboos 

Junx Clothing 

Donnatellas 

The Palace Cinema

along with many others, who are making Gorleston quite trendy.

Bells Road

Bells Road, led by the vintage Margo’s Lounge café, is enjoying a renaissance. The seafront is still as fine a beach as you could stumble upon anywhere. 

The icing on the cake so to speak this week was the world premiere of “Yesterday” with Ed Sheeran and Danny Boyle rocking up on Gorleston High Street. If that doesn’t mark its coming of age, I don’t know what does!

Based in Bradwell

We no longer live in Gorleston, but moved to Bluebell Meadow in Bradwell to downsize 3 years ago. I still have a strong affinity with the town, having lived there for 8 years and taught at Cliff Park High School back in the day.

What hasn’t developed though, perhaps, is a business infrastructure, until recently. 

I deliberately avoided optimising this business, Get Pro Copy Ltd, for certain searches. “Copywriter Great Yarmouth, Gorleston copywriter” and “freelance web designer Great Yarmouth” were ignored. Mainly because, SEO tools told me there were zero searches per month on Google. 

What was the point, I thought?

But now, I do get regular enquiries. Enquiries for writing, social media marketing and web design from Bradwell, Belton, Caister, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth from companies who’ve found me online.

Examples of Gorleston websites:

Some examples: I designed the website for Envision CAD and David Frazer, a company based in Norwich city centre, with David living in Gorleston. 

I’m designing 3sun Group’s website for a giant offshore company who straddle Gorleston to Southtown near Harfreys.

I’ve launched a new website for the Old Hall Hotel in Caister, for Mike Gilbert. 

Social media training in Gorleston

Social media training was delivered to Pink Office Ltd on Beacon Park, Gorleston.

I’m about to start the website for a successful business based on Gorleston High Street and this week, Fairway Lakes next to Caldecott Hall was launched with a booking and payment facility, as well as three optimised news articles about the area. 

Ex pupils from Gorleston and Lowestoft have commissioned me too to design their company websites – Eco Smarthomes is underway for Elliott Burnett from Hopton, ex head boy at Cliff Park too in 2008.

A Reiki website for a good friend in Lingwood.

Gorleston is resurgent

My point is this – Gorleston is resurgent. That town centre and its fringes are on an upward trajectory – if you’re an established business, or a start up in east Norfolk, you may want to capitalise on this rising tide of interest locally.

A new website, a stronger social media presence, a content marketing strategy, could be just the things to make you current and successful. 

You don’t want to be the business of yesterday.

Contact me today for more information on making your business grow.

Affordable web design Great Yarmouth – where?

Are you looking for affordable web design Great Yarmouth – if so, this freelancer can help.

If I drive 3 miles down the A143, the congested route of Beccles Road, or the A47 (formerly A11, renamed to make us think we’d got a new dual carriageway?), I arrive in Great Yarmouth. It’s a funny place, desperately rundown in parts, yet with buildings and beaches that if they were in Aldeburgh, Southwold or North Norfolk, would have second homers flocking here.

It’s a town that is in need of inward investment and some increase in living wages as the poorness of the area is clear for all to see. In Norfolk terms, it seems an incongruous place, particularly given the regeneration of its neighbouring town, Gorleston, which, in my 11 years here, has seen massive improvement in amenities and property prices.

Great Yarmouth though is not so Great, which to my eyes, wandering the town and its periphery today is a bit of a shame.

Politically, I don’t align with the dominant politics here, yet I do feel some pride in what this freelance web designer and copywriter unearths on visits every month or so.

Great Yarmouth market

Take the market place. It’s a bit forlorn in parts, and rescued mainly by the many chip stalls. It’s surrounded by grand buildings, that have seen better days admittedly, that show its former stature.

Daniel Defoe called Great Yarmouth a finer place than Norwich – I think his opinion would probably change now.

The Fisherman’s Hospital, 1703

But wandering away from the gulls and chips, there’s a fisherman’s hospital on the east side, with almshouses and impressive statues and wall plaques dating from 1703. Across the road, St Nicholas Church or the Minster, is the largest parish church I believe in Britain. It has several claims to fame – Anna Sewell, of Black Beauty fame, was born next to it and the churchyard was notorious for body snatching.

Head east and Sainsbury’s car park is lined with medieval castle walls; these remnants are dotted around the town.

Northgate Street is home to houses of real historical merit, one of which we viewed and have written about before here, and the oldest residential building is in this area – dating back to pre 1400.

That’s some history.

South Quay is arguably more impressive – it looks out over the Yare and the herring trawler that is free to visit that marks the town’s fishing past, the Lydia Eva. The town hall is magnificent, as is the former Post Office, Star Hotel and banks that line this section.

Museums, like Elizabethan House and the Nelson Museum dot the quayside along with impressive Georgian structures like the Port Commissioner’s home, which is beautiful. I chatted today with the owner there as I was taking photos and learned more about its heritage and history.

The Rows also run along North Quay and South Quay – alleyways that are still numbered with many being cleared or bombed in World War 2. These provided access between the town centre and quayside and were bustling, I’d imagine, back in the day.

Time and Tide Museum sits off South Quay, as does the impressive Tolhouse Gaol, which is 13th century.

The seafront is no slouch either – the Hippodrome circus remains Britain’s only surviving permanent indoor circus – and the shows are superb; grand Georgian hotels, the wooden rollercoaster at the Pleasure Beach and the iconic Snails in Joyland, which are listed. There’s a Royal Naval Hospital which is now residential and sought after as a place to live.

The beach is brilliant, with the sea cleanliness rated as excellent by the Environment Agency, as I blogged about on The Old Hall Caister’s website here.

The town of Great Yarmouth, from the outside looking in, has lots of potential. It has wealth from offshore and tourism, but I feel needs an injection of cash, lots of it, to make the town have some renewed civic pride.

It has beaches, broads, woodland walks and, despite my constant itchy feet for movement, Great Yarmouth is the place I’ve called home now for the longest period of my life.

That should tell you something about the town and area.

If you as a local business, based around here, need help with digital marketing, social media management, content marketing or affordable web design Great Yarmouth, I’d be delighted to help.

Am I on holiday in Norfolk, still?

We say it every time we travel down the Acle Straight, towards home, which was Gorleston until 3 years ago, and now Bradwell, a suburb of Great Yarmouth. Not the eponymous “Are we there yet?” but does it still feel like we’re on holiday here?

Last weekend, heading back from Norwich  the question, usually habitual, wasn’t raised. Bet you’d love to be a part of the riveting conversations the Waltons have!

Let’s rewind.

We moved here in July 2008, gifting the house away in Crowle, near Scunthorpe, for a fresh start in an area I’d cycled through once and loved in 1994, with a teaching colleague, Dave Southern from Bolton. We’d parked at Hunstanton and toured East Anglia by bike, ending up in London and then heading back to Hunstanton.

Coming from Bolton, the weather in Norfolk amazed us – warm and dry for a two week cycling tour, and I decided then, single and childless, Norfolk would be a future home.

Two teaching jobs secured locally, for myself and my wife, we upped sticks and to the anger of our then 7 year old son and 1 year old daughter, who didn’t understand events, we moved south and east.

There’s been good times and bad times here professionally, which are well documented.

But Norfolk, Great Yarmouth, after 11 years, is beginning to feel homely, even though my heart belongs in the north, I like where we live and I love the lifestyle and climate. So much so that I may be reluctant to forsake Norfolk in 6 years’ time if we do make the trek back north to County Durham, where we stayed last week at Grace’s Retreat.

I designed that website and was smitten, as usual, by the area – which I blogged about here.

But heading back from a long day in Cambridge three weeks ago and Norwich more recently, that choral conversation of “Does it still feel like we’re on holiday here” never reared its tedious head and instead other conversation flowed.

Perhaps, at long last, after living here for almost 11 years, Norfolk is home and my SEO efforts to climb page rankings as a freelance web designer Great Yarmouth and Norwich are absolutely worthwhile.

I’m getting found locally, and not just in woods  and being commissioned locally to write and design websites – my passion from my Norfolk home office.

Distance is no object though – if you’re looking for a web designer in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, or Lowestoft or you’re in Edinburgh, Manchester, London or Cardiff, I’m happy to oblige with market-leading prices with no corners cut.

Wherever you’re based, I can help your business grow.

Contact me today.

Woodland walks close to my Norfolk home

When my nose isn’t pressed firmly to the grindstone of work, which it tends to be nowadays, I often have a 60 minute to 90 minute daily sabbatical of a dog walk with the most recent addition to the family, a rescue border collie, who is delightful.

Working from home is wonderful, but when I was first anchored here, I had to force myself to go out.

Not because I’d developed some sort of Boo Radley social fear, but simply because I was totally focused on copywriting, social media management for clients (and myself) and freelance web design.

Adopting a dog in September 2018 changed all that.

I can’t stay glued to my Mac in my foxy home office when there’s a tail-wagging daily frenzy which translates into – “Put the work down and get me walked.”

Gladly too.

4 miles most days in all conditions is good for body and mind, I meet and chat with people, whereas without a dog, some Nimby would no doubt be calling the police about a tall, careworn man, who wanders woods daily.

If you know Bradwell and Gorleston, I’d recommend this walk. It’s got advantages in that it’s easily accessible by car or on foot and is impressive as the A143 and A47 (A12 as was) are not audible en route.

There’s a new road, connecting the A47 and A143, where we live on Bluebell Meadow and a 150 yard stroll takes me daily to a deserted footpath that passes just 4 houses on its 3 mile length and takes in mud, puddles and woods, which the dog, Cassie, loves, even when asked to sit in arctic conditions:

The route takes you south along the muddy bridleway, and when you pass two cottages on the left, that’s your cue to turn left for Bluebell Woods, which is decked with bluebells in April and May.

A stile crossed, with a big house to your right, you can go across the field, or turn left into the woods. I mix it every day to keep it real, generally preferring the field traverse.

In the woods, you can’t go wrong. There’s a part signed Keep Out which leads to a dead end anyway near Hobland Kennels, and you can wend round Beacon Park and actually leave the woods near the Captain Manby. 

I tend to head back to the new road, and again, it’s a walk that I enjoy most days as you witness seasonal change close at hand. 

Back on the new road, or Nurburgring, as I prefer to call it, as 30 mph seems to be flouted by every driver on there, and the few, who stick to it, are overtaken relentlessly by bellend drivers, it seems to me.

You can then cross the pruned wood to Woodfarm lane and weave back to Beccles Road via a bridlepath next to Ormiston Venture (Oriel High as was) or cross the field and footings of the next Persimmon phase.

There’s wildlife in abundance – pink-footed geese, various birds of prey, Muntjac deer and squirrels. Lots of squirrels. 

I’d recommend it and if you see me en route after reading this, say hello to me. 

I’m not a Norfolk local but I am northern and friendly. 

Are you exploiting the millions of zombies?

I am a zombie. My daughter is, my wife and son less so. We are the living dead.

Walking round with fixed stares.

Stares set on screens – living life through a lens, vicariously, whatever you want to call it.

Not alone though as most of the population seem glued to smartphones and the internet. It’s revolutionised life, changed business cultures and destroyed, perhaps, the high street as we knew it, 20, 30 years ago.

You either embrace your zombie clientele or end up as a footnote in history, like Woolworth’s, BHS, Toys R Us, the Goliaths amongst the Davids who’ve all crashed and burned in recent years.

Any business needs to be online and active on social media – whether that’s a start up or an established brand.

Look at Greggs – would their vegan sausage roll have made such an impact without that PR exercise on social media? I doubt it.

Few may go online and order a pallet of Greggs’ vegan sausage rolls, but anyone walking through an identikit town in Britain may wander in there to see what the fuss is all about.

That sausage roll campaign would have got nowhere without viral online marketing, with Piers Morgan chipping in, with the general population not knowing, perhaps, that the same PR manages him and Greggs.

They have an app too and a delivery service with active social media channels.

Life in 2019 for any business needs to be like that – social, digital and disruptive (a word I dislike).

If you’ve got the germ of an idea for a business in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, Norwich or elsewhere, sit and make a plan. Write down ideas. Develop a brand. Get found on social. Build a tribe of followers. Be likeable.

Oh and get a website from this freelance web design Norwich expert.

You can even pay online now for it, after you’ve chatted with me.

How to get found on Google in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston?

There’s riches in niches, clearly, and I’ll grab a knife, carve that humble pie and eat a slice now, because, I admit to being wrong. There. Said it. A native of Yorkshire admitting fallibility is unheard of. But I’m wrong.

You see, in my aim for SEO dominance with this venture, I went for low competition and medium to high search volumes and ignored the low search volumes. 

Confused?

Let me in explain in simpler terms.

1,000 people per month search for web design Norwich and I wanted a piece of this. 100 people per month search for freelance web designer Norwich so I targetted this search phrase too.

You might want to be found for dog groomer Gorleston, childminder Bradwell, window cleaner Great Yarmouth, removal firm Norwich – you get the idea.

So what happened when I narrowed my scope down, so to speak.

The tactics worked and this freelance web design and copywriting company is now appearing on Google for those – admittedly you’d get repetitive strain injury clicking “Next Page” or “More Results” to find me for web design Norwich, but I’m on there after a concerted content and social campaign in just 8 months.

This is where I went wrong though as in the past three weeks, I’ve had four firm enquiries about freelance web design from people who’d searched web design Great Yarmouth. Google told me there were only 10 searches a month for that term so I ignored it.

Not any more though.

What I’ve learned whilst eating that pie is that:

  • Search volumes is not the Holy Grail of optimising your content. Competition is. The number of firms competing in Norwich, my nearest city, is much higher than here in Yarmouth, Gorleston, Bradwell and yet I’ve taken on new clients who found me online locally.
  • Social media matters just as much. I promoted a post locally on Facebook and Instagram for a modest tenner about where I live, Great Yarmouth. It was, I hope informative and engaging, and not sales oriented and again two messages have resulted from that £10 promotion. One asking about writing, another about web design.
  • A website audit (which I offer free) will tell you about SEO and SMO (Social Media Optimisation – if there is such an acronym) and I’ve learned that a business ignores social at its peril. Your client base, your readers are scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn and that subliminal, guerrilla, stealth marketing takes place there. You engage them on the apps, by offering something of worth, and then, when they make a decision to buy, they choose you, as web designer, estate agent, undertaker or whatever.

So I was wrong this week. Now I’m going for niches and all out on social media to keep me in the lifestyle I’m accustomed to: a BMW that does 26 miles to the gallon, San Pellegrino on tap, and gluten free humble pie. 

If you’re not appearing on searches and have no idea where to start, get in touch with me. I can get you found online for car hire Great Yarmouth, removal firm Lowestoft, tattoo artist Gorleston or indeed in any other field of work in any other part of the country.

I may have been wrong this week, but most of the time I know what I’m doing and I do it well. 

Put me to the test when you’re ready. 

Are you actively pursuing 5 star Google reviews?

I’m of an age when I remember the thud of Yellow Pages and the BT phonebook landing though letterboxes, the free newspaper (which I carry now from the welcome mat to recycling as it lands) and the days of buying newspapers, which seems so arcane, that I actually pinch and zoom when I stumble upon one.

Long opening sentence aside – my point is this.

Marketing has changed with the internet and won’t ever be the same. If your business is stuck in the 70s to 90s, it will slowly die. Marketing is on social and search engines, predominantly.

This brings me neatly to Google reviews. Did you know that having a business verified on Google Maps and Google My Business is a ranking factor, along with your presence on social media. Did you know that a Google review positively affects rankings, particularly on maps?

I’m 8 months old as a freelance web designer Norwich next week.

Don’t see me as a foetus though, as this 8 month old business has previous as a solo copywriter and in 12 months in a web design partnership.

I know too that the best review strategy is still P2P, people to people, word of mouth, but a close second is social and search.

Your business needs to be registered on Google, through sitemap submission and signing up to Google My Business, who then send a postcard (how 1975) with a code to verify. It stops people setting up businesses on maps at fake addresses for SEO, obviously. Your website needs to be fast to load and responsive too.

When you’re signed up for Google (Analytics, Bing, Apple Maps, Yelp, Yell, Thomson Local, local business directories), you then can focus on getting 5 star reviews.

My advice is clear.

If you don’t politely direct clients to write a 5 star review, they won’t usually do it. You have to tell them with screenshots and instructions how to do it. I do this regularly and only one client so far has refused – yet without irony, asked me to do some website changes to the next day. Which I did.

They are vital because the number of reviews appears on Google Maps – I’ve 23 of them.

People like to check out reviews before a purchase, I’ve been looking at Bose Quiet Comfort 35 ii headphones (praying my wife doesn’t read this!) and like any inquisitive human, have read reviews of them on John Lewis, Amazon and review sites. I’ve not bought any. Yet. The reviews though assure me it would be a good decision.

Whatever products or services you are selling, you need to build trust with a Google review policy. Contact me if you need more advice.

Great Yarmouth, a town I live in

Seaside towns have a bad reputation: think Blackpool, Bridlington, Rhyl, Great Yarmouth, Hastings. Seasonal tourism, low paid jobs and a poor transport infrastructure, generally.

We moved to Gorleston, a major town, south of Great Yarmouth, 11 years ago and have since moved to Bradwell, a generally modern suburb, and I feel like it’s home now. People in Norwich get a bit sniffy about the place, but there is lots to recommend it, apart from just the climate, so here goes.

BEACHES

No word of a lie, but the beaches here are as good as any in Britain. Perhaps. Gorleston beach stretches for miles and the ground has few pebbles and the sea has a handy shelf you can happily wade into without being submerged. Admittedly 11 years ago, we swam in it, come rain or shine and now, never, but you get my point? It’s a town that is so on the way up that Danny Boyle, no less, filmed his Beatles movie here from the Pier Hotel.

No matter how often I walk along the beach or promenades, I never tire of it. Been wonderful for our physical health too after the dreadful air pollution of living near Scunthorpe.

Great Yarmouth beach is no slouch either and has its own dunes, piers and golden mile of amusements, with terrific historical resonance. The Barrack estate housed Napoleon’s troops. Queen Victoria was a regular visitor here and Dickens set parts of “David Copperfield” here. There’s blue plaques aplenty with a 13th century gaol, some superb museums and two theme parks, with listed attractions – the Snails at Joyland and the wooden rollercoaster on the Pleasure Beach.

Horsey Gap, Caister, Winterton and Hopton all have fine beaches too.

They’re one of the reasons why, when I get itchy feet, to move, I stop and think of what we’d leave behind.

CRIME

Bearing in mind, I’ve lived in crime-ridden places like Oldham and Bolton, Norfolk is Edenic in comparison. Never been the victim of a crime in 11 years here – it feels and is safe. My home insurance and car insurance testify to that too, so it’s not apocryphal.

CLIMATE

Winters tend to be mild and short in duration with sunshine and dryness stretching from March to early November. Rain is rare too. As is snow. When I look north for relocation, I do ponder rain and light levels, as I used to suffer from SAD in other areas, until we headed east.

BUSINESS

The area is largely dominated by tourism and the off-shore industry. The cost of property in Great Yarmouth is relatively affordable compared with the south east but rises inexorably as you head to Norwich or north Norfolk, where average prices in places like Cley and Blakeney exceed £1 million. Wages are low here though (apart from offshore) and seasonal. The town and borough is definitely deprived, and could do with massive investment for local employment with higher wages. It’s perhaps why the term “web designers Great Yarmouth” or “freelance web designer Great Yarmouth” has such low search volumes, yet Norwich, just 35 minutes away, has huge search volumes for “web design Norwich” and competition.

I do like living here though. The beaches and climate are brilliant. The road network and infrastructure pretty poor, but I’m beginning, for the first time since moving, to see it as home. 

Given my predilection for serial relocating, 11 years in Great Yarmouth is a Personal Best.

I am now happily anchored here. 

 

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