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Functionality You May Want to Include in Your Next Web Development Project

August 30th, 2018

A website design project can be fantastic since a great website can do a lot to help promote your company and the products or services that it offers. If you are planning on having a website developed for you in the near future, the following are some examples of functionality that may help turn a simple website design into a machine that is capable of bringing in a lot of profit for your company.

Some of the functions listed here will not apply to your company and you should be able to realize which will and will not meet your needs. Some are very basic and may be built into your site without you even realizing it. In fact, a good website design will allow you to use these functions naturally and intuitively without the need for excessive training.

Content management systems

A content management system is an example of website functionality that is often just built right in. It allows a person to change text, photographic and HTML portions of a website simply and easily. Although this is often an additional cost that is added on to a website development project in the end it can save you money. This is because you will be able to update your own site and will not have to pay as much for site maintenance.

Site analytics tools

This is an important example of website functionality that will allow you to monitor your site. These tools allow you to monitor who has clicked on your site and whether or not they are a newcomer or whether they have been there before. Some analytical tools can tell you what they were searching for when they found your website. You can use this both as an everyday monitoring tool and as a way of telling which new portions of your site are getting the most attention.

Search engine optimization tools

Search engine optimization allows your customers to find you quickly and easily. If you type in a search term into an engine such as Google, you will get pages and pages of results. Search engine optimization tools allow you to move to the top of these search engine results. Because your clients will be able to find you more quickly there is a better chance that your website will generate income for your company.

Custom functionality

The sky can be the limit when it comes to custom functionality. You can add functionality such as a link to accounting or ordering software, something that can be great if you do a lot of business online. A custom store front and shopping cart can also make a website into something that is more than just decorative.

By having clear ideas of what you want your site to do for your company you will be able to pick and choose the functionality that you need most. Whether it is a members-only password protected area, a slick and beautiful storefront or a customized ordering or inventory system, website functionality will make your site work hard and bring home the kind of income you have always wanted it to.

Reflections on Web Development – It’s All About the Users

August 29th, 2018

Every time I find a bug in our development version of our web application a little parade goes on in my head. Or I’m at the circus and I’ve just knocked over an impossible milk bottle pyramid. I’ve found a flaw that one of our users won’t have to. It feels great.

As the Business Analyst intern for an early-stage tech company, it’s been a wild ride. I’ve marketed and promoted, I’ve made a screencast video for the product’s homepage, I’ve represented the company at a marketing forum, and I’ve written about our product in blurbs and pieces like this. That’s all been a blast-but most new and maybe most rewarding has been helping develop our product through bug testing. I’ve joined my co-workers in the eternal struggle to root out errors by hitting the different browsers (cough…IE) with all I’ve got. And like a fine wine, my appreciation for the process has matured as I’ve realized just how much of a team we really are. None of us are done until everyone has completed their assigned tasks-and tasks are passed around because of the varying experience and expertise of our team. All the while I sit, wide-eyed, and hope to feed the team more and more bugs to seek and destroy.

Beyond finding bugs, I get to partake in our discussions about what we want for the site and for our users. And it’s cool to think that my suggestions and opinions might touch the lives of people around the world. Before I start dreaming big though, I should get back to the grind because we have a release to put out. And I’ll promise this: It’ll be a great one.

Web Development For Beginners

August 28th, 2018

Creating a website may seem like a daunting task that only geeks can do, this is not true! Anyone including you can easily sit down, do one or two hours research and begin to design and layout a plan for your website. The biggest hurdle is knowing where to start and what kind of things you will need. Obviously you will need a computer! Then you need a piece of software that lets you create your website. The simplest and easiest way to start creating your website is to use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website building software. Many can be had for free and this cuts out the need for you to learn HTML. HTML is what all websites are coded in. It is not a huge subject and is certainly worth learning about if you plan on getting in deep with web design and development.

The next most important thing to do is to find a niche topic for your website. It’s easy to copy everyone else’s websites on plants or whatever, but in order to stand out and attract more visitors you need to come at a topic from an angle that no one else has. Once you have decided on your niche, you need to start designing how your website will look. This is worth some extra research as the design of your website will influence how people behave on it, and if it’s designed badly it may just send them right back to from whence they came! Follow popular conventions, like having the navigation down the left hand side, no more than two or three colours for the theme of your site and keep everything on the page evenly spaced.

Now that your site is finished, it’s time to choose a domain name! This is where you pick the address that people type in at the top of the browser, like ww.mywebsite.com. Try to find a company that provides domain names and web hosting. Usually it’s easier and cheaper if you get your web hosting and domain name from the same company. You won’t need to setup something called domain namespace servers either, so it’s a good idea to get everything from the same place. Domain names are cheap, usually anything from $2 to $15 depending on the extension (.com.co.uk.me etc) you choose. “.com” often being the most expensive but it is the most recognised extension on the internet, it’s also easier to remember a website with that too.

Once you have got your domain name sorted out, it’s time to upload it. Before you can do that though, you will need to get web hosting. Web hosting is something that lets you put your website online so people can find it. It is often very cheap, usually in the range of $20 to $40 per year. Once you sign up the web host will send you some emails, and one of them should contain what is called your FTP log-in details. This should be in the form of an address (ww.mywebsite.com or 123.321.123.321), a username and a password. Keep this information safe as it’s very important!

The next part is to get your website onto the internet. This is a little more complex than the designing and developing stage of your site. You have to get your hands on a piece of FTP software. There are many free FTP “clients” online that you can download, such as FileZilla. This is what allows you to connect to your web hosting provider’s computer (server) and upload your files, just like if you were to copy files from your hard disk to another place (usb drive, cd etc).

Once your website is up and running, you may be wondering why hardly anyone is coming to visit. This brings you onto something called “SEO”, which stands for “Search Engine Optimisation”. This is a very wide and volatile subject with many techniques and conflicting arguments on how to spread the word about your website, i.e. getting your website to appear on Google, and the higher the better. It is easier to think of your website like a business, and the traditional way people heard about businesses was through word-of-mouth and customer recommendations. Something similar is true with regards to websites. At the most basic level, the more websites that are linking to your website, the more important your website seems to Google. You can think of links as votes, the more links to your site from others, the more votes you have. This subject is vast and complex, and there are many other factors that effect how the linking process works. For instance, a link from a very big and popular site is much better than a link from a tiny site that no one’s heard of.

That’s it in a nutshell. Remember, you can never do too much research and you don’t need to fork out a ton of money to create and run your own website. Watch out for companies offering to get you to “number one on Google” too, as this is a popular line from scammers. A “first page position” is a much more legitimate statement!