18th Dec 2007

Web design firm builds on its street cred with London site


A WEB design company that created authoritative online guides to some of the Capital's most popular areas has expanded its operations to London.

Chameleon Design launched the site – which lists every business in the historic thoroughfare and includes links to their websites – in 2005.

It repeated the formula with The and Princes and was approached by the George Street Association to create a similar site.

Now the company has launched its first site outside the Capital with, using the same formula to promote one of London's most fashionable and distinctive streets, which regularly attracts a range of A-list celebrities.

Although the sites list all the businesses in each area free, it charges £40 to firms that want a link to their website put on the site. There is also growth potential from possible profits from other advertising space. The new site in London is something of a coup for Marchmont-based Gavin Bonnar, 41, who set up the business, which he runs from home.

The new Beauchamp Place site was set up in conjunction with the Beauchamp Place Association (BPA) after contact was made through Hamilton & Inches, which has a branch in the street, as well as Edinburgh's George Street. The BPA promotes the site and encourages businesses to join and allow the site to link to their own websites.

If Mr Bonnar finds other retail groups that want a site dedicated to particular streets in other parts of the UK, he would consider employing a small team of staff to administer the sites.

"It's fantastic to get the Beauchamp Place site because it's one of the most prestigious streets in London," he said.

Because he has linked up with the Beauchamp Place Association, he said it was not even a problem he had never before visited the street. He said: "The beauty of the internet is that I can work from my house in Marchmont and create a site for businesses in London.

"The main work is in setting up the site, but once it's operational I only need to update it when a new member wants a link or if something changes on the street." A recent promotional drive saw him send out postcards with images of the Royal Mile on the front to businesses in the street with the logo "wish you were here", referring to the online community of businesses he has created on its website.

The Royal Mile site already has 120 businesses paying for links to their websites, and Mr Bonnar is hoping to get similar levels of interest in the other sites.

Although turnover remains relatively small at around £4,000 per year, Mr Bonnar is confident he is now in the position to expand his business rapidly.

If he gets clients who are interested in similar sites for other parts of the UK, he said he would consider employing staff and running a small team to take the business forward. "I am hoping to keep this growing," he said. "It started off small but I think there is real potential."


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