Trade and Lateral Development is a website design and email marketing company. We started in May 2000 and have been operating for more than twenty years.
We started at a time when faxing was all the rage, and no one in South Africa saw the need for a business website. There were flyer drop services (the paper versions they used to shove in your home’s mailbox – snail mail at its worst!) and fax services where companies would send invitations to events by fax, in their thousands. Barely anyone used a computer. Outlook Express was about as advanced as it got, and not many people were able to send more than a very basic black and white text email.
Fortunately for us, times have changed!
Trade and Lateral Development grew along with the IT industry in South Africa. We started by creating Outlook Express templates and sending those as email newsletters, until eventually we discovered a more technically robust way to send. There were no such things as mass mailing systems, and our first mailing system was custom-built for us, with all the trauma that goes along with building your own software.
As our market grew more accustomed to all things digital, so we could improve and expand on our product offering. We were learning like everyone else, and we made just about every email marketing and website design mistake one can make, on the way to learning how to do it all the right way – the way that would get us the results we were hoping for.
We started with a weekly email newsletter “The PC Tip of the Week”, in a desperate attempt to teach customers how to use their computers so they would buy our digital products. We shied away from websites for a while, as the tools available to build them were software packages like Microsoft FrontPage. If you remember THAT software, you’re older than you feel!
WordPress burst onto the scene and suddenly there was a way for customers to update their own websites. It was revolutionary! Before, we built in code and customers had to ask us to change any tiny detail on their website, but with the advent of WordPress, they were now in control. As the CMS (content management system) platform grew, so did our portfolio of websites. They all started as blogs, but shortly became information websites, portfolio websites, catalogue websites, and finally online shops.
We still offer email marketing strategy and design (why waste more than twenty years of experience?) but WordPress is now our primary love. As it’s grown, so have the range of theme and plugins available to customise it. You can now build almost anything on a WordPress website, and we have put that theory to the test many times!
Covid shook the world, and everyone was forced to find ways to take their businesses online. eCommerce websites and online shops are now crucial for surviving in such a precarious world. As WordPress has grown, so has the support from critical services like payment gateways and courier companies. It is a joy to see this platform growing from strength to strength as more and more businesses and software developers get onboard.
Trade and Lateral Development has seen an industry rise out of nothing and has grown along with it. We have made SO many mistakes along the way but, as any IT person will tell you, you need to break it a few times in order to learn what not to do next time. Some things can’t be taught – they need to be experienced.
Now we offer our customers a holistic approach to their website, because now it’s so much more than “just a website”. It’s an online business, and it must have a clear strategy, a target market, a marketing plan, and a way to measure results. The days of a quick “Home, About, and Contact” website are gone. We are in a new era of service delivery. The future is bright and filled with endless possibilities.
Websites now have so many moving parts, and so many aspects to consider, that it no longer makes sense to attempt the project alone. It’s time to engage the services of a website developer who has been there, done that, and can steer you toward a future of rising sales and happy customers!