Captain's log, stardate d529.y36/AB
We are extremely happy to share that last week we launched the new MarsBased website. In fact, we also celebrated our second anniversary. That's right: MarsBased turned two last Monday!
While we write the follow-up to last year’s post about Lessons learnt running a Rails consultancy in our first year, you can take a look around. You'll notice some changes. Four, most likely.
2015 was, overall, an excellent year. If we had to choose two things to highlight they would be the consolidation of our internal workflows and techstack, and the growth of our team from 4 to 8 members, thus doubling our size. Of course, much more happened to the Martian spaceship, and you can read it in our blog post about our excellent 2015.
This new website is far from complete. It is a living and breathing website that will be updated in the coming weeks. So far, we have only published the landing page and the blog, our two most important assets. In fact, the website is our best channel to attract clients, as we explain below.
We had been using our previous website for a good couple of years, and, while we really liked it at the beginning, we grew apart from it as time went by. We became so absorbed with our clients’ projects that we just updated it through the blog.
As we’ve grown the MarsBased team, we have learnt more technologies and enriched thus our services catalog.
With this new website we want to communicate these four things you should know:
1. We are a consolidated development consultancy
MarsBased has been around for two years now. While we started slowly incorporating each founding member, by working on night shifts and at weekends, we’re no longer that kind of company. Now, we’re a team of nine people in-house plus a set of five freelancers working for us every week.
At the very beginning we were closer to a development shop than to a consultancy. The main difference being that dev shops are paid to execute on an hourly basis, while consultancies get more involved with the companies they work and try to improve other areas: efficiency, knowledge and business.
The new design & content highlights that MarsBased is a rock-solid development consultancy, working for medium- and large-sized companies.
2. We have broadened our services offer
With our new additions to the team, and the consolidation of this set of external providers we regularly work with, we are now offering more services: design and mobile development.
At MarsBased, we help our clients grow. With some of them, we have been working for two years straight, which goes to show that we’re in for long-term relationships. Thus, as they grow, they require more and more services: new designs, a mobile app, SEO consulting, etc. We are happy to provide them with such services, as they help us to learn by doing.
We also offer these services to our new clients.
3. The website is our best sales asset
Most of our clients come through direct referral. Happy clients bring new clients. That’s been the case at MarsBased since we started in early 2014.
Because we work with niche technologies (Ruby on Rails, Angular, Ionic), we can't create necessities in our potential clients. We have learnt that most of our clients find us instead when they've got the need.
Therefore, throughout these two first years, we have empowered our website with good SEO practices in order to rank well for our strategic keywords (development Barcelona, Ruby on Rails development shop, Rails Barcelona, and so on). Furthermore, last September we increased the publishing frequency of our blog and the number of technical posts in order to rank even better.
This new website is 100% SEO-oriented and will provide you with interesting content to read. Not only through the blog posts, but we will also be including our Playbook, a detailed portfolio, and a more extensive explanation of what we do for the entrepreneurial scene in Barcelona.
4. Switching technologies
If there’s one thing that applies every month at MarsBased, is that we’re always learning something new. While our techstack is really solid and well-defined (Ruby on Rails + Angular + PostgreSQL), we’re always testing new frameworks, gems and libraries.
During this last year we started working with Middleman. We used to work with Jekyll as our static-site generator of choice, but we prefer Middleman. Middleman uses EBR layouts and incorporates Rails' assets pipelines out of the box, thus allowing us to iterate more rapidly from the HTML mockups to the development servers. This is explained with more detail in our CSS & HTML guidelines post.
Practice what you preach: we have built this website using Middleman. We are still maintaining some projects built with Jekyll, such as the Startup Grind Barcelona website, but Middleman has become our tool of choice for this kind of projects.
Do you like our new website? Feel free to submit your suggestions in the comments section below!