Whatever you need us for, you need us to have firm foundations. The history of Siserone is the history of a small company building slowly but surely over the years, offering the services customers need, as needs arise and as developments become possible.
What follows are just a few milestones – events going on against a backdrop of the steady, incremental evolution of all our core activities.
In the beginning …
In the beginning – well, there once was life before the Internet! Sharon and Mike, the founders of Siserone, have varied backgrounds covering all sorts of things including law and politics, teaching children, tutoring adults and training companies, working with and working for governments, working with and for charities and working with and for businesses of all shapes and sizes. And that’s not to mention writing text and writing music, cycling and hockey, bourbon and gin … and far more besides.
1995 – 2000
Lost in the mists of time – but interesting times. An era of rapid development – from early arty ‘low src’ tricks to our first e-commerce sites; from ‘early adopter’ directories and online magazines to local shop-keepers dipping their toes in ‘The Internet’. All the very basic nuts and bolts we learned in these years have stood us in good stead ever since. It’s hard to remember that August 1991 saw the first ever web page. We weren’t quite that early, but we were definitely there near the beginning!
2001 – 2
This was when we moved to our own managed dedicated server network – which meant incredible reliability and speed. In effect, we could offer our customers all the advantages of a private server without the costs. We also started to be very active in the charity sphere around this time, with a great deal of emphasis on accessibility.
2003 – 4
The importance of communication in this new digital era became ever clearer. Our customers needed to communicate effectively with their audiences and to make that happen we got to grips with bulk emailings, newsletters and list management services.
2005 – 7
Then and now, as we grow so we make sure our infrastructure keeps up. These years saw server network upgrades and server-side anti-spam/anti-virus services to help keep the bad guys in check. In response to demand, we also started offering a managed Google AdWords service around this time. In 2007 the technical side of the business moved to a new, bigger, better, faster data centre.
2008 – 9
These years saw an emphasis on statistics analysis software for web site traffic as ‘web life’ became more sophisticated. Private web forums, too, loomed large, as people wanted to network – but within managed, moderated contexts.
2010 – 11
Of course, blogging had been in the background for a long time but during these years it became something our business customers were needing too – so we turned our hand to WordPress and Blogger, including full custom templates. And then ‘social media’ grew in importance… and so we responded to calls for help in that sphere too.
2012 – 13
Designing responsive web sites – that adapt to the platform they’re viewed on – was the big development in these years. Online shopping only grew in popularity so we started using two different ecommerce platforms, between them suitable for product ranges ranging from 10 to 10,000, in multiple languages and able to be integrated with your blog if needed. And as the competition for attention increased, so we developed a full search engine optimisation service – which has proved very effective ever since.
As a logical consequence of the previous couple of years, responsive shopping sites were the development focus for this year. We also developed and improved our – already very good – in-house list server and customer mailing capabilities. And as Google’s dominance seemed to wane a bit (with Bing winning out in some markets), so our SEO services responded.
It’s important to remember that the Internet is still young – and changing all the time, along with its users. What web users actually want when browsing (rather than what they’re given) is crucial: the fundamental user-experience has never been more important. As people get ever-more used to it, so people are using the web as a tool – nothing more, nothing less. As a result, our customers’ web sites need to keep that in mind above everything else – and so do we as designers.
Together with a site’s accessibility across different platforms, another reality of online life is that it’s inevitably getting harder to be noticed and to be remembered online. Good quality and relevant communication – not least in newsletters but also via social media channels – is gaining an increasingly vital role in this. Here we can help too – the Siserone team includes BBC-trained editors and writers, coupled with a lot of commercial experience.
The major behind-the-scenes focus during these years was some very major upgrades to our technical infrastructure. These might not be public or high profile, but they are high impact in the longer term. Over the years, this kind of keeping-up with developments has ensured we’re giving our customers and hence, in turn, their customers precisely what they need.
The move to a different, better and more flexible and diversified technical infrastructure that we started last year continued throughout the year. Incredibly time-consuming and not exactly exciting, but definitely worthwhile. By approaching the whole task in a deliberate, measured way, we’ve kept disruption to customers to a minimum.
And the year also saw us looking and planning ahead for 2020. There are some big challenges ahead for our customers in terms of keeping sites readily findable and well-ranked. But we’re here to help!
Well, that was the year that was … (for our older readers, an update on ‘TW3’).
We worked throughout the year in a pretty regular way but, naturally, most new tech/design developments had to be paused or, at best, slowed. Covid-19, one way or another, overtook everything and pretty well everyone. Thankfully, at the time of writing – January 2021 – there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s hope it’s not an oncoming train.
This time last year it felt like there was light at the end of the Covid-19-created tunnel. The world doesn’t feel like an overly happly place as we write this update (January 2022), with the Omicron variant seemingly rampaging around the world. But, in truth, we – humans – are making huge progress. The lessons of Covid will make interesting reading a couple of years from now.
As for Siserone – well, we kept on keeping on in 2021 and we intend to keep on doing so. We still work in all the areas of Internet-land that we did before and nothing has changed in any huge way. The move to having a more up-to-date and/or active online presence was underway for a lot of individuals and businesses before Covid. External events might have accelerated these changes, but that’s all.
That said, we’re very aware that for some of our customers Covid has made life very difficult, for a wide variety of reasons. But as (we hope) our customers know, we are always here to help. Don’t ever hesitate to get in touch. For 2022, we are as flexible and understanding as we always have been.
Well, we’re writing this on a wet, windy and very grey January day and the world’s not looking particularly attractive. From the view out of the window to the planet’s changing climate, from the rising cost of living in the UK to wars actual and brewing in Europe and beyond, mustering optimism can feel like a big ask.
But here at Siserone Towers we’ve been around long enough to know that all things must – and will – pass. Things will improve. And that includes life in Internet-land. From our perspective, for a long time now, there have been a variety of to some extent conflicting factors influencing online life – from platforms to formats, uses to users and more besides. But if the last two years have seen anything, they’ve seen more clarity emerging about what people want and need from their online life. And with that clarity, inevitably, there are both new challenges and new opportunities. Here’s to the future.
It must be said that 2023 was a year that hurtled by. Perhaps strangely, it didn’t see any significant landmarks in our professional scheme of things. Basically, not a lot changed.
As to where we are now, at the start of 2024, most of the ‘normal’ side of what we do looks likely to continue to be much as it is. We’re aware of incremental developments in the pipeline, sure, but no major game changers. The elephant in the room is obviously A.I. and its knock-ons, but how that’s going to play out with web sites, servers and so on is a moot point. It may well have little impact.
It must be said that stability has a lot going for it – we’re not complaining. If only the ‘big picture’ social, political and economic context in which we all live our lives was similarly unruffled.