A window to the Hebrides with white sands to black pudding

Website gives new view of the Hebrides
Islands portal will boost business openings
Global audience targeted for local firms

New potential customers for businesses in the Hebrides could come in an increasing number as a new project is going to launch which is going to increase the amount of exposure businesses in the area get with an international audience. A website is going to be launched which shows various shops which are available on the high Street in the Hebrides, and it is going to show their products to an audience worldwide in the hopes of increasing the amount of business that local businesses receive here.

Father and son Peter and Sandy MacLeod, from Barvas on the Isle of Lewis, have created www.hebrides.co.uk, a virtual mall where you can book a holiday or buy smoked salmon, rent a cottage or purchase famous Harris Tweed garments.

They believe the Hebrides and their range of businesses are not adequately promoted to a global audience and could be missing out on millions of pounds of online shopping.

They say the new portal will put island producers and manufacturers in the ‘shop window’ to help attract new customers and boost sales over the internet.

According to Google, there are over 110,000 searches each year on the worldwide web for the Hebrides, the area, its products and places of interest.

However much of that traffic is not being directed to individual businesses which are missing out on a stream of potential clients as a result.

Hebrides.co.uk will cover an area from Lewis to Arran – which has a population of under 50,000 – and will dedicate an entire page to each business, providing introductory information, details of its products and a map guiding customers right to the door.

It is felt that a bespoke Hebrides domain will be able to increase footfall to businesses better than via individual websites.

Peter MacLeod, managing director of Hebrides.co.uk, said: “The Hebrides have a fantastic range of world renowned products and we are determined to attract more customers to these products.

“Every year more than double the number of people living in the Hebrides goes looking online for goods associated with the islands and we believe this new website will enable us to match that demand with the right business.

“It will boost customer traffic to our website which in turn will increase visitor footfall to the businesses featured on the virtual Hebrides High Street and promote awareness of everything the Hebrides has to offer.”

He added: “Twelve months advertising costs £180, or less than £3.50 per week, and in return businesses will benefit from an effective and efficient new portal to increase sales and opportunities

“Hebrides.co.uk also charges no commission and there are no hidden costs.”

The new website has already been endorsed by a number of island businesses, including Amhuinnsuidhe Castle, a 19th century landmark offering accommodation, fishing, fieldsports and tourism activities, together with corporate business facilities, at Huishinish in Harris, and Hebridean Sea Salt Ltd, Scotland’s only gourmet sea salt company, based at Lochs in Lewis.

Gail Buchanan, administrator of the Amhuinnsuidhe Estate, said:  “The new website will be a very effective way of getting our wonderful Hebridean products promoted to a worldwide audience. Anything that helps raise awareness of the area and the range of businesses here is welcome and should be encouraged.”

Natalie Crayton, managing director of Hebridean Sea Salt, added:  “This area has a lot to be proud of but sometimes we don’t sell ourselves very well.

“By using this website to highlight what we have to offer we can break down distance barriers and reach potential customers around the world.”