Website Development Services

Firsty’s web development services fall into three categories: Development, Hosting and Support. In addition to these core services we provide Consultancy Services and a turn-key Direct to Consumer eBookstore solution which we call Firsty Express D2C.

Website Development Services

Website Development

If you are looking for a future-proof web presence, which appeals to your trade and/or consumer clients then first think about the type of experience your different customers will want/expect? Think too about the design and the type of devices your customers will view your website on?  If they are mobile – as most are these days – then a Responsive site will be essential (something optimised for Desktop/laptop, tablet and smartphone). Early on you will also need to decide whether a proprietary or open-source content management system (‘CMS’) is best for you?  Proprietary systems might look great now, but will they still look great in 2, 5, 10 years times?  Will the system still be supported? Will the owner continue to develop and enhance it?

In addition to these points you’ll need to consider:

  • What, if any, products and formats you want to offer for sale direct from your website?
  • Whether or not you want to apply DRM?
  • What level of integration you will require with 3rd party software (e.g. with your print fulfillment house, internal accounting systems and email marketing system)?
  • How will you update product data on the website? Firsty uses ONIX importers to help with this process, but if your metadata is not in the best of shape then you’ll need to sort that out early on in the development process.  While we are thinking about products remember that we are not just talking about individual print and ebooks.  Hardbacks, collections, audiobooks, and other complementary products can all be offered through the same basket and checkout facility. And for that matter they could also be offered for rental.

There are obviously many other things to work out.  Some, at first, will seem complex, but in reality are fairly straightforward others sound simple but are tricky to get your head round.  Regardless, there isn’t much we haven’t come across before. If we haven’t already built/coded a solution for it then we will likely be comfortable doing so.

About our eCommerce Websites

Our eCommerce websites are always built on an open-source CMS. We populate book data onto the product pages of your eBookstore via an ONIX feed either direct or from your title management/publishing systems using our ONIX importers and validation tools. We will also integrate the bookstore with your print fulfilment partner’s stock and order processing systems.  We can also kit you out with a range of DRM solutions,  full DRM using Adobe Content Server and/or digital watermarking or alternatives.

The CMS will give you complete control over site presentation, content and functionality. You’ll get a user-friendly checkout, social media widgets and impressive community features.  Because the CMS is open-source we can also easily create, adapt and build modules to give your site extra functionality, as and when you need it.

Features we can and do incorporate, include:

  • book data management and integration via an ONIX 2 or ONIX 3 feed
  • individual product pages for each title
  • print and ebook bundling discounts
  • grouped, bundled and pick & mix book options for multiple formats (eBook; Paperback; Hardback)
  • ‘Look Inside’ facility
  • intuitive user interface/navigation
  • superior content management and complete configurability
  • powerful SOLr or Sphinx search facility
  • social media functionality (including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn)
  • simple ‘buy now’ and one page checkout facilities
  • online/offline order/payment solutions
  • choice of payment gateways (eg SagePay, WorldPay, PayPal and others)
  • author and reader community areas
  • trade, media, press areas
  • customer account areas
  • configurable and automated cross-sell and up-sell
  • tools to apply a range of promotional features (e.g. Voucher/Discount Codes; Gratis/Review Copies)
  • IP authentication for a localised international sales experience
  • automated, localised tax calculations at the point of sale
  • eBook and print order processing/fulfillment
  • integration with publishers’ existing print fulfillment software and book distributors
  • selected/global eBook distribution
  • analytics and reporting facilities
  • sales and customer account management
  • crowd funding module
  • pick and mix options
  • affiliate programme module

We recommend you chose a website built using responsive web design (RWD). RWD sites automatically optimise the page view of your website to the mobile device on which it is being viewed. And that means every page of your website – from the homepage, all the way through the checkout process and into the user account pages.


Firsty provides a managed hosting service. First and foremost we are developers so it makes sense for us to outsource the physical hosting to our expert hosting partners who have invested in secure data centres and specialised hardware, software and support personnel.

Unless you have a dedicated IT unit with the requisite skills it can be tough to manage a relationship direct with your hosting partner, publishers and hosting providers rarely speak the same language! Through a managed hosting relationship with Firsty we aim to take that pain away. Firsty will configure a hosting arrangement to suit your business and we will manage it on your behalf.


Our configurable support services include technical CMS and extension module support, bug fixes and if required enhancements/further developments. We provide support during UK business hours as standard and 24/7 support if required. All support services are provided under an annual commitment and formal service level agreement.