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Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

2017 Web Development Trends and Best Practices Report

July 30th, 2017

2017 Web Development Best Practices ReportThis report provides managers with a high-level overview of key web development best practices and trends so they 1) are better equipped to make informed decisions, 2) are aware of available tools and resources, and 3) gain an understanding of current requirements, risks, and costs associated with their website.

Download the Report

The topics covered include:

  • Strategy and Goals

    Understanding the effectiveness of a website is dependent upon the quality of the comprehensive marketing plan in which it exists.

  • Content and Messaging

    The preeminence of content or achieving your website goals.

  • User-Centered Design

    Developing your organization’s website from your target audience’s perspective.

  • Graphic Design Principles

    An overview of the fundamental principles for utilizing design to provide effectiveness and credibility to your message.

  • Web Design Trends and Best Practices

    A summary of current web design and layout trends and their advantages.

  • Website Security

    An overview of the increased risk of hacking and the major factors that can affect your website’s security.

  • Website Accessibility (Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 AA)

    Understanding the rapidly evolving requirements for website accessibility.

  • Website Deployment Options

    The pros and cons of professionally managed websites compared to user managed content management systems (CMS).

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

    A primer on the components of SEM including organic SEO and paid SEM.

Frappe Free Web Design

December 11th, 2016

One of the biggest ROI killing design blunders for any product or publication is over complexity, and Websites seem to be one of the most common offenders.

The term usability is used in Web design jargon as the attribute of how easily understandable and navigable a site is, and how readily it meets its target visitors’ needs. Almost without exception, each of the millions of Web sites in cyberspace are designed for very specific tasks for a narrowly defined group of people.

Osterizer GalaxieYour primary goal as a site owner is to provide a completely intuitive experience for your visiting prospects. In spite of this obvious goal often simplicity becomes lost in unnecessary clutter. When this happens visitors become confused and confused visitors, according to research, tend to make a hasty retreat.

I ran across a great example of usability in design recently when my ancient Osterizer Galaxie Blender broke. While it had provided many years of satisfactory service, it was always a source of mystery and anxiety to me. I just needed it to perform one simple task—blend. But each time I went to use it I had to wonder at all the buttons on the front:

Chop (Off) – Grate (Off) – Grind (Off) – Stir – Puree – Whip – Mix – Blend – Frappe – Liquefy

Am I doing this wrong? Should I be Puree’ing or Frappé’ing this protein shake. And does it matter which off button I push, why are there three? Just for good measure, I would randomly use all the buttons on different
occasions—all with no noticeable difference to my concoction.

Osterizer BeehiveIn browsing for a replacement, I came across the polar opposite of the Osterizer  Galaxie—the Oster Classic Beehive. There’s just one switch on the whole thing and that tne switch does just what I need without having to stop and think about which button to push and why.

While blenders and Web sites don’t have much in common, the design principle illustrated by Osterizer’s two extremes make great litmus tests for the usability of our own sites.

Now the Beehive looks much cooler than my old Galaxie, I no longer have to hide my blender from guests come over. But the most important thing about well designed
products or Web sites is not looks (although good design naturally lends itself to better aesthetics) it’s about making the value you offer clear and easy to implement.

I mentioned Steve Krug probably too much, but I know of no who does a better job of explaining the foundational principles of usability and helping people really “get” what it takes (and doesn’t take) to create an effective revenue producing Web site. If you’re the owner, manager, or administrator of a site I implore you to get your hands on a copy of his classic book, Don’t Make Me Thinklink opens in new window.

Do you know who controls your business’ domain?

June 11th, 2016

Where is your company’s domain registered and when does it expire? If you’re like many executives and managers you have no idea. How do I know? I talk to them all the time.

Here’s a typical scenario: ten years ago your company launched a web site…no one in-house knew where to start so the person who claimed to know how to program their VCR was given the task of registering a domain for the company. This person registered the domain but used their name, address, and hotmail account. What’s more this individual may no longer even be employed by the company, probably could care less, and hopefully is not disgruntled with their former employer.

What would be the consequences to your business if your Website was suddenly gone and all your company email accounts ceased working or now featured a spam site (or worse)? Does this sound crazy? While this scenarios might be on the extreme, you are guaranteed some degree of misery and loss if you let your registration lapse.

If you are not immediately and unquestionably certain where your domain is registered, and more importantly to whom your domain is legally registered, stop everything right now and get it fixed!

Here’s how:

  • Access the Whois public database and enter your domain name. Assuming your domain does not have a private registration, look through the list of information and find the following:
  • Registrant Name: If this is not your name or the company’s name you’re at risk.
  • Admin Name: Do you know this person? Do you trust this person with your entire business? Your domain needs to be registered under a name of a corporate officer, owners or executives—not an employee. All it takes is one disgruntled employee to reek havoc on your business.
  • If you need help registering, renewing, or transferring a domain name please visit https://virsafe.com or call one of our domain registration experts at 480.624.2500.

More information on domain registration:

An Easy Way to Import Weebly to WordPress

September 1st, 2015

Are you looking to move your Weebly blog to WordPress?  There seems to be a lot of outdated and/or over complicated solutions out there.  There are also some plugins available for purchase that claim to automate the process which in our tests, did not work.

There is actually a much easier (and free) method to import your Weebly blog posts to WordPress that we found:

  1. Login to your Weebly site and go to Settings -> Blog. Change posts to page to 25 (or the highest option), and turn blog sidebar on. Click Save.
  2. In Weebly go to Build and ensure your front page layout has a sidebar with archives.
  3. In your web browser, find your Weebly blog’s RSS feed, which should be www.yoursite.com/1/feed
  4. Right click and “view page source” (Method can vary by browser, if you don’t see an option when you right click, google: “How to view source code with (name of your browser) .”
  5. Command A, or Control A to select all, right-click copy, then paste to a text only editor (not Word). Dreamweaver works great, but if you don’t have that here are some free options.
  6. In your text editor remove the fist line of code, something like <?”xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>, so your first line should be <rss . . .
  7. Save that file as weebly.xml
  8. In WordPress, go to Tools, Import, RSS, browse and select that xml file and viola . . . your Weebly posts are now in WordPress.  You should notice too that your images are showing up in WordPress, however these images are being displayed by an absolute URL and are still hosted on your Weebly site. You’ll need to manually save all those images to your WordPress media library and add them to your posts to retain them.

The above was done using WordPress 4.3 so newer versions may have altered the process. Also, I did not test this process on a Weebly blog with more than 25 posts so it may be this important method is limited to 25. If you’ve tried it with more than 25 posts please let us know.

Good luck!

 

 

 

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