Development

Giving your customers a friendly, easy to use CMS system

Posted on November 27, 2017 at 11:46 am

If you are a web programmer that designs website for clients then you should always consider what functionality your client will need in order to keep the website updated. Even if your client asks you to do all the updates to the site and does not require access to the back end, it is good to build this in any way in case they change their mind down the line and also to make updates quicker and easier for yourself.

Your client may require access to the back end system of the site to allow them to upload additional content, change or add products etc. Some developers will use an off the shelf content management system such as WordPress or Drupal and others use their own built system. There are pros and cons to using both and often it comes down to what functionality and flexibility you need. If you are using an off the shelf system, then these are usually developed in a fairly straight forward way, but if you have made changes to the templates or themes etc. then you may need to check everything still works as it should.

 

 

Posted in Development

Developing a website and using a CMS

Posted on October 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

There are a number of choices you need to make when having a website built. You may need to consider if you want you try and create a website yourself or pass the project on to an experienced web design or web agency. You will also need to consider if the site is going to be hard coded or use a CMS background, and if so, what CMS you are going to use. Hard coding of websites is not often used anymore as it makes it hard to do the updates to a website that are required for your online marketing and for your visitors.

There are a range of content management systems and you can chose from using an off the shelf one, or if your marketing agency offers, a bespoke system. IF your website is going to be quite straight forward then you may prefer to use an off the shelf system such as Drupal or WordPress. If you r website is going to require quite a lot of unique functionality and the ability to be able to add more in easily, then a you may look to use their bespoke system.

Some content management systems are free to use on a monthly basis. But you will need to get it integrated in to your website.

Posted in Development

Discovering your online competition

Posted on September 25, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Most businesses are aware of who many of their competitors are but did you know that your online competitors can vary drastically. In terms of getting people in to your business in a physical location, your competitors are probably going to be within a 30 mile radius. Most people that go to buy something in person will not want to travel much further than that unless it is an item of quite high value. When you look at online competition you will often find a large number of them that are not located within the same county as you and maybe not even within the same country!

It is important to check this and check that your online prices can compete with those or that if they don’t you can over something above and beyond. If for example it is carpet that you are selling, you may want to make it clear that you are slightly more expensive than some of the online companies but you are able to offer a personalised service and visit the address to take measurements and talk through the carpet samples. This may be enough to persuade someone to use you rather than a company which is essentially just going to dispatch the carpet based on your order.

 

Posted in Web Marketing

Building your own website

Posted on August 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Many companies are now advertising DIY websites, allowing people of a non technical background the opportunity to build their own website. These companies usually offer websites at a very low price and the idea is that you add and remove features that are necessary to your business site.

These website can be great for people who do not want to spend a lot of money and have the time to manage the sites themselves but they are also not always as effective as you may think.

These types of sites are often created using templates which millions of other people have access to meaning that your website may look very similar to your competitors. They usually have limited functionality, meaning if you want to add something that is a little different or bespoke to your company you may not have the ability to do so. They often do not work well in terms of SEO and often are missing some of the fundamental elements that websites should be built with.

It may be that you start off with a website like this but you will need to be aware that you may have to do a lot of the advertising yourself through social media or pay per click for example, to get traffic to your site.

 

Posted in Development

Should you consider updating your website?

Posted on July 24, 2017 at 9:04 pm

All websites should be updated on a regular basis. Often a website will be updated in terms of adding news articles, blog posts or new products and services to it, but there may come a time when you need to give the whole site a bit of an overhaul.

You will need to consider advances in your industry and compare your competitor’s websites to see what they are offering. It may be that you need to add additional functionality such as online calculators, videos or social media feeds. If you have added a lot of functionality over the years then the site may start to look a little disjointed and require a bit of TLC to get it all to work together properly.

When updating a website, sometimes it is cheaper and quicker to start a new website rather than trying to amend an existing one. Speak to your current web design agency to find out which is the best option for you. Don’t forget to ensure that you have a fully function mobile version of your site and any updates are also applied to that.

 

 

Posted in Development

How can you learn how to use PPC marketing?

Posted on May 29, 2017 at 10:40 pm

PPC stands for Pay per Click and is a common and popular form of online marketing. Many people try to experiment with pay per click, but the truth of the matter is that if you do not know what you are doing then you may end up wasting a lot time and a lot of money.

Firstly you need to fully understand what PPC is and how it works. Each company that offers PPC such as Google and Facebook work in different ways, so you will need to have an overview of them all or decide which one you are going to use first.

Keyword research for PPC can be incredibly time-consuming, but it is also incredibly important. Your entire PPC campaign is built around keywords, and the most successful AdWords advertisers continuously grow and refine their PPC keyword list. You will need to do initial keyword research but will also need to do on going research to ensure that you are targeting the correct phrases.

Once you’ve created your new campaigns, you’ll need to manage them regularly to make sure they continue to be effective and that you are getting the best results for your money that you are spending on the campaigns.

Posted in Web Marketing

Keeping a head of the game as a website programmer

Posted on May 1, 2017 at 9:16 pm

As a programmer you have a certain level of responsibility to ensure that you program websites in certain way to make them safe and secure. This is not only from a functionality point of view but also from a security perspective as you need to ensure that you are trying to protect your client’s website and your hosting company’s server from getting hacked or the content on the site from being misused.

Often if a website is not programmed in the correct way and is easy for it to be compromised by a hacker, then personal data can be stolen, visitors can be redirected to another site without them knowing or consenting or the website may be taken offline. There have been incidences in the past where even big companies such as Sony and even government sites have been accessed by unauthorised personnel.

To ensure that you are up to date with all of the latest technological advances in programming it is advised that you either attend regular courses or ensure you do your own in depth research.

Make sure that all websites are registered on Webmaster tools and check of messages from Google as they will often pick up on sites where they believe they have been hacked and warn you.

Posted in Development

New website? Don’t overcomplicate it

Posted on March 8, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Many companies hold off on having a website or leave it in production for far too long and this can mean that they often miss out on enquiries and sales. After carrying out research, it seems that many companies try to include everything in the first phase of a website and this can cause massive delays. The beauty of the web is that changes can be live almost instantly and therefore there is no reason to hold back if you can go live with a decent site as it can be added to at a later date.

If you want to build in complicated functionality then you need to ask yourself how important it is to have that when the site first goes live. Would it be beneficial to get the site up and possibly start generating enquiries and then over time work on improving it and growing it? This is not only good for your business but can also help your rankings on the search engine such as Google who tend to favour sites that are constantly updating.

If you are struggling for content, then don’t let your site sit almost completed for months and months. Invest a bit of money on using a content writer who will be able to come and interview you and find out what you want to say and write the text to go on to your site.

Posted in Web Design

Creating a directory website

Posted on February 28, 2017 at 10:00 pm

If you are looking to build a directory website then you will need to consider the costs involved in not only building it but making it successful. Many people have great ideas about building a directory for people to search for suppliers or companies that can offer the services or products they need. Directory sites can make you a lot of money but you need to make a lot of decisions about how it is all going to work before you start building it. You need to consider how you are going to make any money off the site. Some people chose to let people add their business for free to the directory and then make money from allowing adverts on their site. This often encourages business owners to sign up as they will not have to pay to do so but may take a good while before you start making any money off the adverts, if at all!

When you are trying to sell advertising space on your website, potential advertisers will want to know the traffic to your site. If the site has only just gone live or not yet live then you are going to struggle to guarantee them any views and therefore the price they are willing to pay often drops.

 

Posted in Development

Utilising your website space

Posted on January 27, 2017 at 8:45 pm

There is often disagreements when it comes to designing a website about how much “white space” you should have. There is a fine line between an informative website that utilises the space available and a website that is too busy and cluttered.

When deciding on what information to put on your website it is important to keep in mind what you are trying to achieve. If for example, you are wanting to sell a product then you will probably want to have images, descriptions, technical specs and dimensions and even videos to allow your visitors to see what the product does and how it looks.

If you are considering having ad space on your site, again you need to think about this carefully as too many adverts can put visitors off and make them leave your site very quickly.  Some white space around your website can actually be effective as it gives the appearance of a clear and clean website and many people favour this. Using colours that are too bold or bright can be another way to make your visitors make a sharp exit. Make sure that your pages are laid out clearly and that the navigation is easy to follow on any device it is viewed on to give your visitor the best experience.

 

Posted in Web Design