Discover The Advantages Of Using Content Management Systems To Build Websites

Nowadays webmasters have different options for building websites. Among them, web creation software, Content Management Systems, HTML editors and plain text editors.

Content Management Systems (CMS) make sense for web developers, as well as for their customers. A CMS can free up much needed time for developers and save money for customers, simply by shifting routine content updating from the developer to the customer.

Perhaps the greatest advantage for customers is having the ability to decentralize web content maintenance. This is especially advantageous for large corporations and organizations. A content management system can offer the ability for customers to delegate roles throughout the organization, allowing the experts most qualified to write the content to actually update the web content themselves.

Another benefit content management systems provide customers and web developers is a mechanism for customers to make web updates without compromising the design layout and functionality of the site. Without a CMS, customers are often tempted to purchase web creation software solutions and have updates to their website done “in house”, often by non-technical staff. The results of this are often a broken web layout and a dysfunctional website.

A content management system eliminates this temptation while protecting the consistency of the branding, functionality, and design elements of the customer’s website. In turn, this alleviates the need for the developer to spend many countless hours fixing the customer’s misguided, however well-intentioned, website “redesigns”.

All this allows for customers to update their websites as quickly and as often as needed, keeping content fresh and relevant. This is a vitally important component to search engine optimization. Most CMS’s are also optimized to produce clean HTML code that is easily indexed by search engines, leading to a higher ranking in the various Internet search engines.

Another benefit provided by a content management system is that all content is stored in a database. This allows for content to be pulled into and formatted for any device, such as mobile devices and tablets. This flexibility permits its implementation on a wide variety of today’s digital mediums, as well as future technologies.

Content management systems allow customers to empower non-technical staff with the freedom and flexibility to update content when needed, eliminating the need to purchase expensive web creation software solutions and hiring in-house web developers. By turning over routine content editing to the customer, developers are able to devote more time to design and marketing. Customers save money that would normally be spent on website maintenance. These factors make a content management system a win-win for both web developers and customers.

Why to Choose Joomla Over Other CMS?

Joomla is an open source content management system which is very popular among the website developers for developing highly functional and secure websites. The popularity of Joomla is reflected by the fact that clients can easily hire dedicated PHP programmers from India who can work proficiently on Joomla to create simple as well as complex websites. Joomla means “all together” and this is clearly visible in the working and development functionality of this CMS. Most of the times clients and budding developers ask “why to choose Joomla over other CMS”. Well, my answer would be because it allows the developers to build websites quickly, with a wide range of features and at a comparatively lower price than most of the other CMS.

Let’s discuss in detail why developers choose Joomla over other CMS:
Joomla has one of the largest communities, consisting of supports and developers, which makes it even more popular in the development community as PHP programmers can always take the help from this massive community if they have any issues. None of the other content management systems have such a big following.
Joomla has a very wide and diversified feature set that’s allows the developers all over the world to create a highly functional and robust website without using extensions. The built in WYSIWYG editor is highly user friendly and provides a highly flexible development platform to the developers. The content layout and the extensions library enhance the ease of development using Joomla.
Joomla provides a strong set of more than 4000 plugins and extensions that provide endless functionalities and perfection to the websites developed using Joomla. The endless sources of communities provide a strong support and high-end templates for Joomla development. Joomla has more Templates than both WordPress and Drupal combined together.
WordPress is a great CMS. Very easy to use and operate. But when it comes to developing complex websites then nothing compares with Joomla. WordPress must be used only for blogs and informational websites. Achieving much functionality with WordPress is time consuming, costly and mostly does not ends well.
Drupal is a serious contender of Joomla but by installing a single free extension, K2, a CCK (content construction kit), all the flaws of Joomla are removed and it towers high above Drupal. Drupal’s admin functionality is painful to operate and the frontend, backend distinction very unclear and confusing. Joomla is very clear and user friendly in all these criteria’s.
The most important and significant reason to choose Joomla would be the availability of resources. Although you can find many developers for WordPress and Drupal but the huge number of dedicated PHP programmers in India who are more than willing to work on Joomla will surely change your mind. As the learning curve of Joomla is not very long and once you learn it you can go on experimenting on it forever. This has made it an instant hit and a sort of craze among the developers. This has produced so many skilled, talented and innovative PHP programmers in India that finding the one perfectly suitable for you is always easy.

As more and more clients are looking to Hire dedicated PHP programmers from India therefore it is required from the clients to know what they want from their dedicated PHP developers before they go looking for one. If it is a complex website or a website with wide features and functionalities then going for a dedicated PHP programmer who is also an expert in Joomla would be the best option for clients.

Discover How to Train Your WordPress Clients Without Wasting Your Time!

We all know that giving support to your clients creates lots of trust, not to mention possible referrals and extra cash on your wallet. But unfortunately, we also know that it can be a very time-consuming task.

Dealing with customers training was one of my most time-consuming works during all my career as a web developer and designer. I spent a lot, and I mean A LOT, of my time training them in how to use WordPress, how could they post a new page and alter an existing one, how could they add a new image in their media library, how could they create a new category… And many more “how-tos” you probably know.

I received constantly many phone calls, endless emails, so I even made a PDF document with the basic tasks outlined, along with nice screenshots and easy-to-follow instructions. But then, WordPress upgraded and all my screenshots became outdated, so I needed to create them again, and again…

Heck! I actually spent more time training some of my clients than actually delivering them their sites!

Many of my clients were not that ‘internet savvy’, so I had to break down every single step with non-technical language, and that can be really time-consuming.

I tried to find a solution. You know, the type of manuals you just change some names and there you have it! (Although it’s getting difficult to find these ones, I searched for one free WordPress manual on Google and got no relevant results) The problem was that even with the manual they kept calling me and emailing me with new questions and problems that apparently the manual did not cover, or covered it with technical or non-specific language.

I almost decided to completely remove the free customer support from my webdesign packages. Fortunately for me (and my clients!) I did not have to, I found a plugin that trains my clients in my place.
How awesome is that?

It has more than 35 video tutorials, fully customizable with your own logo, and also a nice PDF (available also in doc format for further customization) with over 80 pages and screenshots!

The plugin’s called Video User Manuals and guess what? You don’t have to worry for WordPress updates, you have access to updated videos and the updated handbook, without even requiring you to do anything! (I can hear you sighing)

You just install that thing in your client’s site as a plugin (Did I mention you can install it on unlimited sites?) and whenever they need a piece of advice, they just need to open plugin’s tab and that’s all, you don’t have to worry again for giving technical support to your clients.

It works like charm. You buy your membership, save countless hours of time and then invest it building more websites and earning more money.

A win-win situation I think.

Location Maps for Websites

Adding a location map to a website is a great way to promote a shop, or business premises where customers may buy services or products. A location map assures potential visitors that a business is local and helps them to easily find their way. This is a good way to do something to stand out from the competition and help customers to find your business.

Even though satellite navigation systems are now widely available, many people when looking for directions will just get out an A-Z map, or go to a route-finder website. Google have a great free map system which can be used to show customers a business location. To find your business location, just go to the Google maps page and enter your business post code. If you have a Google account, you can create a name location and insert a pointer to show the exact location. Then copy some html code which will enable a link to be added to a web page. This is a very quick and easy method of showing customers the location of your business. If you do not already have a Google account, just register as a new user.

When potential customers search online for a business in a specific geographical location, some of the listings will include a location map. You can add your own business to Google Maps, so that it will be displayed with a map in the search engine results. Websites which are listed on Google Maps are displayed with a small map in the search engine listings. Therefore, when a potential customer searches on the internet, they may be attracted more to the result which shows a map, as they can clearly see that the business is local to them. There are so many business listings on Google and it can be difficult to get your business noticed when there are many others offering the same service. A listing on Google maps can help a business stand out.

If you wish to add a business listing to Google Maps, so that you may be found in the search results, this is quite easy. It takes around 2 weeks to get listed on Google maps. It is well worth doing, as local businesses are listed above the general search results and this can greatly increase your website traffic. In order to get listed, submit your business name, address and phone number. This information will be validated prior to approval in order to ensure that only real and local businesses are included in the listings.

Ignore Web Development Mistakes at Your Own Risk

The difference between a successful web development company having a proven track-record of developing effective websites and a company that is not known for the efficiency of its websites is quality. This quality is determined by whether a particular web development company takes time out to right the wrongs made during custom web development or not. The fact of the matter is that that no development company can afford to ignore the mistakes made during the process of development. If it knows that its developers have made a bunch of coding errors and ends up ignoring this fact, they are doing irreparable damage to their reputation.

Apart from their reputation which takes a big hit, so do their clients because they are delivered a substandard product. Here are two negative outcomes of ignoring mistakes.

Failure to Ensure the Requisite Results

A client comes to a web development company with a set of requirements in mind. It is through the satisfactory integration of their requirements in the website/web application that the client can achieve his predetermined goals and objectives. Any mistakes, in the process of web development, can contribute towards the failure of the project and a situation where the end product is unable to achieve the desired results. For many businesses, such a situation results in a loss of revenue as they are unable to optimize the use of the application. The blame for all this can be laid at the door of the ‘mistake/s’ that were ignored by the company in charge of developing the web application or site.

Delay in Project Delivery

Why is it that some companies choose to ignore the mistakes done at the development stage? One of the reasons for this is that they don’t want to miss out on the project delivery date. They think that if they spend time trying to sort out the problem, it will lead to project delays. So, they spend time trying to hide the mistake and trying to work around it. But, instead of helping them save time, such a solution actually ends up taking more time. What’s more, such mistakes don’t remain hidden for a long time and can rear ugly their ugly heads at a later date during project development. This leads to even more delays. So, ignoring mistakes doesn’t pay in the long run. In trying to save time, such companies end up losing more time.

Trying to ignore mistakes is like a disaster that is waiting to happen. This is why it’s of paramount importance that, if mistakes do happen during the process of custom website development, they are sorted out at the initial stages itself.

Hand in Hand: Web Development and Search Engine Optimization

Here’s a common practice we see with many businesses wanting to have an online presence: The client commissions a web developer to build a website from scratch. The developer completes the project and turns it over to the owner. The client then contacts a SEO specialist and finds out that there are some things that should be changed in the way that the site is built to make it more appealing to and easily readable for search engines and its bots. The client then contacts the developer to make changes to the site.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with that scenario. First off, if the client hired a freelance web developer, the former cannot be assured that the latter would be free by the time the client decides that there should be changes on the site with regards to search engine optimization. Another reason, what if the site is built around Flash and JavaScript? Then the SEO specialist tells the client that the way the site is built would not be able to rank well. It could mean starting from almost square one again.

My point is that before you commission someone to build a website, make sure that they are privy to on-page optimization. This is the part of SEO concerned about how the website is built and how it would be read by search engine bots. If they are not familiar with it, you can either look for another developer or have an SEO specialist work side by side with the developer.

Now, if you are already in the process of having a website built and you do not have the budget to hire a full-time SEO guy or gal, here are some tips to serve as a guideline to help you make your site more search engine friendly.

1. Have only one URI for your homepage. Yes, URI because a URL is a URI but a URI is not a URL but I digress. What it means that if I visited www(dot)yoursite(dot)com/index.html or www(dot)yoursite(dot)com/index or http: //yoursite(dot)com, it should point to only one page. You can set it with the www or without it, with /index.php, /index.html, or plain /index too but stick with only one. Your web developer should know how to do this.

2. When it comes to page size, keep it below 150 kilobytes. If you said that some websites have page sizes way more than that, it is because this sort of limit only applies to sites without significant authority. Yes, like the site that is yet to join the World Wide Web.

3. Content is king. While it can be appealing for a website to have all sorts of bells and whistles, if it has no readable content for search engine bots (written words/text), it would not rank well. So try to stay way from Flash intros.

4. Don’t drive people away. Yes, people (generally) love music and music is meant to be shared. But please, we don’t want our speakers coming to life without any warning. It can be very frustrating if you auto-play some sort of background music on your homepage. In this age when multi-tabbed browsing is the norm, it could be very frustrating going from tab to tab to see where that music is coming from.

Aside from these four, there are other things to consider in making your website more appealing for search engines. Do not be overwhelmed though since if you made the right decision in hiring a web developer or a web development team, they would know at least the basics of incorporating SEO tactics in web development. Then you can just pitch in the new things you learn along the way like the four pointers above.

How to Make a Website From Scratch

I don’t recommend beginners making your first website, or even your second website from scratch. When I say from scratch I mean, using Adobe Dreamweaver or another web design software. There are plenty of HTML web editors out there and I have tried many of them. I just like Dreamweaver the best.

Here are a number of reasons I don’t recommend beginners choose this option to design your sites.

Firstly, the learning curve is pretty steep. To even feel confident enough I took Web Development courses at my local community college. The courses take an average of 4 month long to go though. And one class is just starters to get you to feel somewhat comfortable creating a website from scratch.

In my first class we hand coded everything and only in the last 30 days of the class did we register for the free 30 day trial of Adobe Dreamweaver to build our last project.

So the learning curve is long and hard, because it’s like learning a language. HTML, XHTML, and CSS are called Markup languages.

If you choose to use either the WordPress platform or an all-in-one platform like SBI, it is still good to familiarize yourself with the basics.

W3schools.com has some good practice editors with examples for HTML and CSS. I would only concern yourself with HTML right now. XHTML is basically HTML, but with cleaner code requirements.

Secondly, to create your site from scratch you need to comb the web for tutorials, and sift through tons of content, while in the process getting side-tracked and swamped by information overload.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all the free content, and even the paid content available, but the biggest problem for many people is information overload. It’s just too easy to get side-tracked, while your trying to figure out an answer to just one of your questions.

While we could be diligently creating pages via another way, were stuck trying to figure some coding problem.

One of my very first sites I coded from scratch was this shiatsu massage website. It is not dynamic (meaning when you create more content the page expands with the content). However, I designed all the graphics and template myself. It took two weeks to design and make all the elements work together. This was my first experience in paid website creation.

How to Make a Website from Scratch – Outsourcing your Work

A better option is to have a website designer or any graphic designer use Photoshop to design the template that you would like in Photoshop then. Give that.psd or Photoshop file to a Website Developer and have them “slice” it into a fast loading template that you can use to load into your HTML editor. Below is an example:

I did this with the Learn How To Make Quilts website. I had a brother in law who was a graphic designer, create a template in Photoshop.

Then, I went to oDesk and registered, and submitted my job request and what I wanted done. Within a few hours I had probably a dozen candidates bidding for my job. If you haven’t had used oDesk before, it is pretty sweet. You can find some AWESOME guys to do your specialized work for you.

Just pick a five star or high four star rated contractor with experience. You are able to view their scores on related proficiency tests, their portfolio, and feedback from previous employers. Choose someone you’ll be happy with.

I had 12 applicants apply:

I chose one who bid $17 to code it for me cleanly outside of Dreamweaver, so it would be ultra-fast loading with light code. I got back my file in less than a day, unzipped it and loaded it thru Dreamweaver and starting creating content on the new site within my new custom template.

Now, when I need some custom work done, I know I can count on my guy on oDesk to do quality, quick, efficient work for me; plus, he always over delivers on what I need or ask. So, finding a contractor with a good feedback record is really beneficial.

Outsourcing to meet some of your demands is really a great idea and for the money is totally worth it for me. Because, what would take me literally a week or more to figure out on my own, would take one of the awesome oDesk contractors, literally an hour or less.

How to make a website from scratch – Summary

If you choose to design your website from scratch you will need to:

Buy a domain name (All my sites are though GoDaddy, but I keep hearing more good things about NameCheap and will use them from now on. The problem with GoDaddy is everything is an upsell, at every step in the process they bombard you with more unnecessary add-ons.)

Buy Hosting (Many people use and recommend HostGator, however, I have recently moved to Web Hosting Hub and have had nothing but awesome U.S. based support experiences).

Get a free or purchase an HTML editor I’ve used: Evrsoft First Page 2006, which is free; CoffeeCup, has a free version and a paid version for $50; Dreamweaver, is $399, and I’ve tried a multitude of other free editors. I liked Evrsoft First Page 2006 the best for the free editors, but still was unstable enough for me to finally buy Dreamweaver. I bought the discounted student version of Dreamweaver with my proof of student elgibility, and then later the Adobe Creative Suite 5 Web Premium.

Possibly hire outsourced contractors For the “dirty” work. The main reason for outsourcing your “dirty” work is because your time is valuable. and let an experience expert do it for you, much more quickly. If you are really just itching to learn on your own, then I recommend taking a community college course and/or visiting W3CSchools.com – on how to make a website from scratch, with some of their learning tools and mini editors.

Why Work Closely With a Website Development Company

Computers are like cars: everybody thinks they know everything they need to until theirs stops working for them. This concept starts with basic functions and continues right up until you hit more niche areas of computing like website development and Internet marketing. Everyone who has taken a website design course thinks they can build the perfect website – but be warned – there is more to making the Internet work for your business than you think!

Maybe you have heard of Search Engine Optimisation before and maybe you have heard of key phrases and traffic driving. Content Management Systems (CMS), social media marketing, AdWords, article marketing and traffic monitoring; these are all important terms that you should know about before going ahead with the development of your business’ website.

It’s not enough to get a nice homepage and throw it online anymore – Internet marketing has become a cut-throat business. Web traffic has become an important commodity and, with so many businesses vying for a user’s time and through sheer market saturation it has become nearly impossible for someone to succeed on their own.

A web presence is like any other form of advertising in that it is a reflection of yourself and your business. Creating something that appeals to customers and lets them know that you are a serious and professional candidate for their spend means developing a comprehensive and effective Internet marketing campaign. This is why so many businesses choose to work with specialised web development and search engine marketing companies to succeed online.

A lot of apprehension exists because, understandably, businesses want to retain control of their image. Web development companies empathise with this and aim to work with you to help shape and evolve your ideas so that they translate online effectively. Understanding your user is invaluable just like understanding your customer in the real world. A website development company will be able to help you turn that real world understanding into an electronic one.

From simple things like choosing keywords that make your website easier to find through Search Engines to forming a social media marketing strategy for your company, having the expertise of a web development team can help your business do wonders online.

Don’t let yourself be poorly represented in one of the largest markets available to you. Put in the effort and take the time to ensure a successful online image. Create your online image with a website development company for the best results.

Why All Website Contact Forms Should Look Like This

How much time did you spend considering the contact page of your website? I’m guessing not that much. In this article I’d like to encourage you to think again.

Website design can be an exhilarating experience for both the web designer and the soon-to-be new site owner. However in all the excitement the humble contact form is often overlooked. The significant function that this form carries out and it’s direct relation to the success of your business would suggest it requires more thoughtful consideration.

Minimize friction to maximize sales leads

One of the general tenets of website strategy is to “reduce friction”, that is to allow website visitors to navigate and complete website goals with ease. In the case of your website’s enquiry form, this is achieved by ensuring the form is as brief as possible. Too many form fields naturally put people off. (Recently I encountered one with a massive 32 fields but that’s another story.)

Because of this your website’s contact form probably only consists of name, email and your enquiry fields. Which is a good start but at this point I’d suggest a fraction more friction.

How you’ve lost a prospective customer without doing anything bad

The purpose of your website’s contact form is to deliver sales leads into your business. Sometimes, even though prospects successfully complete the form – and submit it – you lose them. Why? Simple human error. Not yours but theirs: they’ve typed their email address incorrectly.

Fast forward to a few days later and your prospect is already beginning to dislike your service. They may even start complaining to friends, colleagues or (worse still) to everyone via Social Media. This is poison for your business and your reputation.

Seen from their point of view it’s understandable: they sent an enquiry days ago and nobody in your company has replied. From your point of view, you may well have replied but as their email was incorrectly typed you have no other way of contacting them.

It’s true, there may also be a contact phone number field in your enquiry form but generally frequency of this is low. Prospects can also be reluctant to complete this for fear of sales calls.

Why a little more friction will secure more sales leads for you

The simple addition of a second form field is all that is needed. Asking users to type their email address again will encourage more careful typing. Granted, it’s not foolproof as some may simply copy and paste the first into the second. However, its a fix that requires the minimum of effort – a small price for getting a few more leads.

Don’t change your enquiry form until you’ve read this last little bit

Your contact form is also an opportunity for you, the business owner to find out where your prospects are coming from. A straightforward “how did you here about us” will tell you all you need to know about the success (or not) of your current marketing. Use a dropdown menu to list specifics. e.g. Google Search, Radio Ad, Referral, Newspaper ad etc to get the most from this crucial touchpoint.

All About Website Development

Website development is one of the most important aspects of any website, as the development of the site is the actual coding and programming to make the website work properly. While free website builders may present you with a means of making your own website, you will find that a website developer will be well worth the expense. Not only will your website be developed with you in mind, but it will be made so you can easily work with the content management system to run all of the different aspects of your website.

Website development truly encompasses every aspect of a website, from the first line of HTML code up to the databases that store your visitors’ email address. Working with a website developer will ensure that your website can perform all of the tasks that you need it to, as the developer or programmer will work with you to create a website according to your specifications and needs. Working with a programmer to create your site may cost a lot more, but in the long run you will find that the expense will be well worth it as you get a website that is top quality and easy to work with.

The secret to good programming is ease of use for the owner and visitor while still offering all of the functions that is needed. Many online businesses or e-commerce websites have to offer a wide range of services, but the programming must remain simple in order for the website’s visitors to be able to shop around easily. Programmers are trained to use the simplest forms of code to call actions, add features, modify functions, and make a website user-friendly. However, the website also needs to be simple for the website owner to use, as it is likely that the website owner is a novice who is opening his or her first website.

Granted, most of the people who start an online business or e-commerce site have a bit of experience working with websites, thus it is not as important to make an extremely simple website. As people work with their sites and develop the site, they begin to understand how the different functions, codes, and aspects of a site work. They learn how to work with WordPress, and they understand all of the different things that go into the running of a website. This means that they are much more able to work with a more complex site, as they have some experience.

However, the fact remains that the programmer’s job of making a website comprehensive and functional while still being easy to use is never easy. Content management systems like WordPress have made it much easier for programmers to create complex websites that are surprisingly easy to use, but there are still plenty of challenges faced by a web developer when creating a new website for a client who is just starting their first website. Web development is one of the most important aspects of a website, and professionals will help to get the job done correctly.