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If Your Website Isn’t Built Right - From The Start

August 31st, 2010 by SAM

One of my very favorite reasons for preferring a website over a printed brochure for advertising your business is that it is easy to fix mistakes and typos. Once a brochure is printed, you have an expensive reprint in order to fix mistakes. The thing about a website is that it needs to be tested after completion. The links need to be tested and especially all forms and interactive items that communicate to/from your users. When filling out the form make sure that it gets to you in the way it should. If it is in email, make sure you get it. If it is in a database, make sure it caches it. Also, when filling out the form, make sure the form has all the fields that you want or need on it and that the information filled out in the fields comes through to you. When a web master finishes building your site, it is time to check everything. Don’t wait until a user calls and asks if you got the message from your website.

It is also important to check your forms months and years after being built. One problem that can happen is your web server could block the very email from your site and, where you once received the email, it may be down and blocking it. The only way a link will break is if the place you are sending it to has been taken down. Read more…

Is Moving Your Website Like Moving Furniture; One Place to Another

August 18th, 2010 by SAM

Believe it or not, moving an old website can be as easy as moving furniture, however, most new sites have ties to their host. This is one reason you want to be particular about which host you chose. When a site is all content, images, and Flash with no forms, it should be easy to move, but it also can depend on how it was built. If the file extension is .html or htm, it could be as easy as downloading the site via FTP(File Transfer Protocol) to your computer and uploading the site to the new host via FTP. Below are a few items to consider when attempting to move a website:

  1. If your extension is .asp and you move it to a server that supports php, the site will not work properly and vica versa.
  2. If you have databases, they will have to be downloaded separately and recreated on the new host.
  3. If your site is created on a template that belongs to the host, it may mean you can not move your site at all. You will have to copy and paste all content to another template or create a real website.
  4. If it is a template like Wordpress that was uploaded to your host, you will need to download it via FTP and upload it to the new host via FTP. Also, do a dump of the database and upload that to the database area.
    Read more….

My Host Broke My Site

July 26th, 2010 by SAM

Putting up packaged software on sites can be affected by what your host does to your site. Your site might be hosted on a Windows server or on a Linux server. Which one is better? It’s the choice of the programmer and that choice is largely determined by the programmer’s background. Programmers who were taught in the .net/asp arena have earned Microsoft certification and the credibility that goes with it. However, Microsoft has been slow to become a part of the Internet. Because of their place they have tried to set their own standards on the web, when the standards had already been established by the open source community. The open source community consists of programmers who believe that source code for applications should be available to all and who contribute because they love doing it. It is not controlled by a corporation. HTML, the language the internet was built on, was started that way. PHP is an open source language and is the language used on the Linux server.

Both the ASP language of the Windows server and PHP, the language of the Linux server, continue to change and evolve. These two languages are about functions of a site. As they evolve the context of the language can change. These servers must grow with the language. If someone programs in PHP4 and the server is compatible with PHP4 everything works fine. When programmers start programming in PHP5 their sites may not work on the PHP4 server. The server must then be upgraded to PHP5. Guess what; the sites programmed in PHP4 may have problems and stop working. These sites are broken and must be fixed. Read more …

If Your Host Crashes, So Do You

July 16th, 2010 by SAM

There are websites that can break and there are websites that probably won’t break. A website is affected by its host, by the connection of the user and by the user’s computer. When your users experience frustration with your site and you know everything is working fine, it is not always easy to convince them they need to allow cookies or turn on their Javascript. But we have little control over our users’ computers. We do have control over the host we choose.

How can you be affected by your host? When your host crashes, your site goes down with it. You can be affected by the host because it is the place where you have your website stored, so that it can be viewed by the Internet. It is just another computer. Your site can be nicely sitting there working away just fine when the website next to you or on the same server is trying all kinds of new things and getting all kinds of hits that causes an overload on the server, and before you know it, it crashes. Your site goes down with it. This happens to a server just like it does to your computer. It is expensive to have your own server that is maintained by a competent staff so most sites are on shared servers. We are at the mercy of the other sites we are sharing the server with. Read more…

Thinking Outside the Box When Designing Your Site

June 29th, 2010 by SAM

When thinking outside the box with a website, it may mean leave the canned templates behind. No matter what business you are in it is important to stand out from your competitors. Thinking outside the box makes the difference. Serving your existing clients online can give your site the edge over your competition. This and a keyword strategy aligned with online marketing can communicate a selling message that attracts new customers. This means a website that is custom built.

Many businesses use their websites to perform customer service functions. Like answering common questions. If some of these answers are only for customers, give them a login on your site and start your own social media place on your site for only for your customers. This is a place where customers can log in get the answers to questions about products they bought from you and now can be an added feature to you business.

Another idea is to make forms designed to not only come to you as emails but also can be stored in databases. This can create multiple ways of accessing the data. The options you have are up to you with a good web designer that has a full functional development team to help you create a unique site beyond your competition. Read more …

Is Wordpress Your Website Answer

June 15th, 2010 by SAM

We think Wordpress is your blog answer but in most cases, it is not the website answer. Wordpress has a blog program where you can put the blog on your website. This means it is more a link to the blog. It means when an entry is made into the blog it goes in a database on the same server where your website is located. If you decide to close the blog and all its contents, you are more successful when it is loaded on your site. You delete the database. Copies are stored in some archives but it isn’t easy to retrieve.

Wordpress websites are a lot like the Wordpress blog except there is no RSS feed. Our problem with a Wordpress website is that it is one-size fits all. It can take 10 minutes to upload a wordpress website. We find those who have them are not as likely to keep posting to it. That is the advantage of a Wordpress website. It is as easy as a blog to make updates. Unfortunately, many find blogs confusing too.

A custom website is tailored to the needs of the merchant. Let’s face it, you buy a one-size fits all in the bargain basement. You may not think so if your programmer charged you a lot to set up your Wordpress website. They may be charging you for custom graphics maybe even your initial content. It is not custom. If you are very computer savvy and a good writer who likes to contribute, a Wordpress website is for you. Read more…

Building a Site With Selling in Mind

June 10th, 2010 by SAM

If we start with the look, use your own images. Do not use borrowed images from the web. This is true for your content as well. That is true for two reasons. The first is the same for images and text; it is plagiarism. Second: the search engines refuse to recognize content the second time it is posted. When choosing the domain name it is a good idea to use your keywords or phrase instead of the name of your company. That way when a competitor buys your site. It is much easier to assume the site as their own.

The method you choose for building your site can make a difference. Some hosting companies offer templates that you can use to build your site. If you use their template, the content of your site is stored on the hosting company’s database. This makes it more difficult for a buyer to move the site. Read more…

Can You Sell Your Site?

June 4th, 2010 by SAM

So; we ask ourselves why would someone want to buy your site. Is it because it looks good when someone finally gets to the site. Is it because it gets a lot of hits? Is it because you are actually making an income from your site?

These are reasons why someone would buy a site. If you built a good and easy to use shopping cart for products that someone may want to sell, it increases the usefulness of your site. Maybe the traffic you are generating is just the traffic the buyer needs. Does your site have the process of selling perfected? It could be that you organized your information in a way that a competitor could use it. It may be that someone wants to buy your business and your good website is just the asset that makes the sale. Your site can show the image of your company right down to how organized it is. Your site may be loaded with information on your type of business. A competitor could be interested in buying your website. It may be cost effective to buy your site as opposed to building one. That is one reason to use a generic domain name. Read More…

Free Websites With Hosting

April 29th, 2010 by SAM

When you are on a budget, it is nice to go for the free. However, if this is an indicator of starting your site right, you may get what you pay for. If you are pretty proficient on the computer you may feel capable of launching a site with the type of template that comes free along with the hosting. It may even look like a pretty good site. The one thing you want to remember is that the site isn’t really yours. It is created from a database and all the content and images you add are added to the hosting company’s database. If the hosting company is an established company, it probably isn’t going anywhere. That’s good! Then again you can’t take it anywhere either. If your company starts to grow and you want to go more custom, it probably means starting over with your site. Since all this time you got away pretty cheap, that may be OK. It is better when it isn’t a surprise. Read more …

Why A Blog Site?

April 26th, 2010 by SAM

A blog is not a website. You can use a blog as a website but they do two different things. Blogs are weblogs where a user would keep an online journal. It seemed appropriate to add an RSS feed. A blog being is for current information. RSS feeds made the post available sooner. This means it goes to the blog searches within hours. The RSS feed actually started for news to get across to the sites ASAP. If you have a blog and you get a following, your followers can put a reader up on a page where they can see when you put a new posting up in hours. A blog should be treated differently than a website. It should link to your site but not be your site.

A website is about your business, even if your business is all about you. For instance, a speaker’s business is all about them. Their product is them but using their blog as a website limits the possibilities of the website. A speaker can customize their events on a page so that it is more than just a calendar. The sky is the limit and the searches for websites are different than for blogs. It does take longer to get a website into the search engine databases, but once there you can climb to a better rank. Read more …