Sunday 11 October 2009

Investment Property For Sale

Short Term Websites

Most people realise that websites provide a cost effective way to promote their business, but websites shouldn't just be restricted to your main business website.

The House of Elliott Estates approached us when they were looking to sell their Spa. They needed a presence on the Internet to help promote the sale of their investment property in sheffield.

Within 1 day they had their website with a dedicated domain name for just £50.

The Spa is fully rented out by numerous businesses that operate there, including a hair salon, swimming pool and various health and beauty treatments. Providing more than £41,000 per year gross profit in rent, these business premises offer a remarkable return on investment.

Short term websites are useful for: Specific marketing campaigns or promotions, SEO with specific search term targeting, one off sales of houses, business or personal items.

You can link to your website from emails, forum postings, adverts etc., benefit from search engine traffic and track the number of visitors.

We hope our clients websites helps them to sell their investment property.

Tuesday 10 March 2009

A Fresh Look For EquiPortal

We have just completed a total redesign of

More changes are planned over the coming weeks, but this first phase has provided the foundation of what we hope will become a successful social network for horse riders. EquiPortal will also be benefiting from our online marketing activities throughout the year.

We will be posting blog entries in the future to let you know how we progress.

Monday 5 January 2009

P.D. Glen Courier & Removal Chooses CWS

P.D. Glen Courier & Removal Service based in Bicester, Oxfordshire are the latest company to choose Contrast Web Solutions (CWS) to develop and host their website.

Paul recently started his new courier / removals company and aims to provide a quality service to his customers. Specialising in last minute deliveries and removals, they also offer a professional packing service to make the stressful process of moving home a little easier for their customers.

The website we provided uses strong contrasting colours and colourful images to be "eye catching" (which was part of our brief) and incorporates our custom designed logo.

View the website and read more about the company at:
P.D. Glen Courier & Removal Service

Saturday 4 October 2008

Saving Horse Owners Time & Money

In the current climate many people are increasingly concerned about how far their money will go. One group of people who are feeling the pinch are horse owners. Riding or owning a horse is an expensive hobby but all the horse lovers out there want to make sure that their loved pets are getting everything they need. Luckily for them Contrast Web Solutions recently launched a new website to help save them time and money. - the equestrian comparison site allows riders to search for and compare equestrian products and horse insurance. Products from various online retailers can be compared side by side together with reviews and ratings for each supplier to allow riders to make informed choices.

Equine Compare is a new breed of website termed a CSE (comparison search engine). CSE's are proving to be very popular with consumers because they provide shoppers with the information they are looking for in a convenient way and save them from the hassle of sifting through page after page of search engine results. The CSE search results include products from many shops and include images, prices and descriptions making comparison very easy.

There are an increasing number of CSEs, but Equine Compare is the first to specialise in the equestrian market. We have big plans for the website and will be extending the site to allow other types of equestrian products and services to be compared.

The website is live and will be officially launched to the public on the 1st November 2008.

Let all your horsey friends know about the website. Both them and their horses will be grateful for the information.

Friday 1 August 2008

Using Picnik and Amazon S3 for photo hosting

A question that users have asked a few times on our websites is, "How do I add my photo to a forum posting or to a wiki article?". The common answer is to have them upload their photo to their favourite photo hosting site and then insert the required BBCode in to the forum posting which links to the photo. But what about users that don't have an account on a photo hosting site? They only want to upload a couple of pictures and don't want to spend ages doing it!

We could have included an upload button on our forums and wiki, but that presents a few problems too:

  • The default size of photos taken by digital cameras is too large for forum postings or web based articles. Some users won't have the software or knowledge of how to crop, and resize their photos.
  • Uploading large photos will waste our bandwidth.
  • It would be nice to allow users to select previously uploaded photos, but how do we create thumbnail versions of the photos?
  • Where do we store the photos?
Step 1: Integrating with Picnik
Picnik allows a user to upload a photo from their PC. Once uploaded to the Picnik servers they can crop and resize the photo but they can also do much more; including adding frames, effects and text, adjusting colours and sharpness, and even touching up the photo. This all happens within the browser so no software installation is required.

Picnik is a cool product, but it's the way that it can be easily integrated in to our own websites that makes it great. In the forum posting form and wiki editor on we have added a button to launch Picnik. From here the user uploads their photo to Picnik, optionally edits it and then saves it.

Control is passed back to the EquiPortal server but a couple of interesting things have already happened to make our life easier:
  • We receive a location to download the photo from.
  • The photo has automatically been resized to a suitable size for publication in the forum or wiki (this maximum size is configurable), therefore saving our bandwidth and looking after users who don't appreciate that photos need to be scaled down for use on the web.
  • We also receive a location to download a thumbnail version of the photo that Picnik has automatically produced.
  • Now all we have to do is store the photos and automatically insert the required links in the users forum posting or wiki article.
Picnik is already used by some of the major photo hosting sites including flickr and photobucket so we know that the service will continue to be available in the future.

Step 2: Storing the photos on Amazon S3
OK, so Picnik has solved a lot of problems for us, but we don't want to host loads of photos on our server because it will eat up our bandwidth and storage and slow down our websites.

Amazon's S3 (Simple Storage Service) is a secure and cost effective way of storing files and optionally making them publicly available over the Internet. The servers are very reliable in terms of uptime and data persistence and they are massively scalable.

It is a fairly simple process to open an Amazon account, and incorporate the code to upload our photos and thumbnails to their servers. This enables us to introduce a second button to our forums and wiki to allow users to show a gallery of previously uploaded thumbnails, which can be selected and automatically inserted in to their postings or articles.

By integrating Picnik and Amazon S3 services in to our solutions we can provide a rich user experience for photo uploading, editing and hosting. The solution is low cost with high availability and has minimal impact on our servers.

We look foward to using Picnik and Amazon S3 in more of our solutions in the near future.

Monday 10 March 2008

Press Release: launches portal website for riders and horse enthusiasts launched early March 2008 and aims to become a major supporter of the on-line equestrian community. A brand awareness campaign will be running throughout 2008.

What sets EquiPortal apart from other equestrian websites is it's focus on being the homepage of choice for riders and horse enthusiasts. The latest Internet technologies are being used to create a homepage which will automatically refresh itself, keeping you up to date with the latest equestrian news, the latest forum postings and anything else that is occurring on the site. You can search both EquiPortal and the whole web directly from the homepage and can even customise your homepage by adding various gadgets to provide additional features.

EquiPortal aims to promote equine activities on the Internet by offering free websites to event organisers and horse clubs. These free sites will have extensive functionality and can be updated by users without needing any Internet development experience.

The site initially launched with an events calendar, directory, news, forum, rider's photo albums and free monthly prize draw and will be shortly followed up with free classified ads, articles, fun polls and much more. is produced by