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How Devon web design helped turn a hobby into two successful businesses

When Fi Darby’s husband suggested that she and her friend Lucy Atkins started an outdoor blog about their adventures walking and wild camping on Dartmoor, little did she know that six years later she would not only be the co-director of a successful outdoor business, she would also be running her own freelance copywriting business from her Devon home.

Over the six years since Two Blondes Walking wrote their first outdoors adventure blog post, their blog has gone from strength to strength and led them down unexpected and exciting avenues. With full time teaching jobs and voluntary responsibilities teaching youngsters expedition skills for Dartmoor’s Ten Tors Challenge and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Lucy and Fi soon found themselves catapulted into a world of outdoor promotion, children’s book publishing and TV appearances.

As the Two Blondes Walking blog grew, it became clear that the simple WordPress website, initially created by Fi, was not going to be up to the job of managing a burgeoning load of e-commerce, daily blog posts and media requests. This is where Hoot Media stepped in. Fi was looking for a local Devon design agency that would understand the Two Blondes’ need for an eye-catching but affordable design whilst allowing her to keep content management control. The design needed to incorporate a large image gallery, present and organise daily blog posts and provide a solid e-commerce platform, all within a look that took the Two Blondes a step beyond, but not too far away from their quirky origins. Tom understood these needs immediately and added his own successful suggestions to the mix. The result has been a website that is robust enough to cope with daily updates, facilitates the need to build on existing audience growth and has achieved excellent SEO results. With the help of Hoot Media, Two Blondes Walking now regularly features in first page search engine results for key outdoor queries and has led to increased sales of their outdoor and navigation workshops, press trips to review a number of holiday experiences, ambassadorships with Ordnance Survey, Visit Dartmoor and Nearly Wild Camping and influencer offers from internationally recognised outdoor providers including Rab, Rohan, Icebreaker, Blacks/Millets, Columbia and Craghoppers.

With the desire to make a break from teaching and a growing love of writing, in October 2016, Fi decided to launch her own freelance copywriting business from her home in Torquay, Devon. Once again she turned to Tom and Hoot Media and once again their advice, expertise and helpful approach to customer service have been a real boost. Fi Darby Freelance now has an escalating portfolio of international clients and Fi writes on a wide variety of topics including technology, travel, careers and the outdoors.

‘Growing your social media following is important,’ says Fi, ‘but it is next to useless without a professional website that has been designed to allow your talent to shine through. Tom and the team at Hoot Media have recognised our needs and helped us move forwards. We look forward to working with them more in the future as both Two Blondes Walking and Fi Darby Freelance grow.’

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