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.

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.

Creating Websites That Can Sell For Millions Of Dollars

Getting over the $1-million hump may seem to be an easy task, if we go by the claims of self-proclaimed online millionaires. However, there is more to it than meets the eye. Turning your website into a virtual million-dollar cash cow is not a straightforward and simple undertaking. You have to put your heart and mind to the tasks at hand. It requires a great deal of patience and persistence to get to your expected target. The reason why a lot of people turn out websites with price tags that only run for a few hundreds or thousands of dollars is because they plunge into their online venture without the proper frame of mind.

You are off to a good start if you are able to create a website that turns in consistent and stable income while giving you a lot of spare time to do other things on the side. On the other hand, there may be some things that you are not doing right if you are going for multiple sites to reach your desired level of income from your online business venture.

Elements of a Million-Dollar Website

The price tag of a Website is normally pegged by determining its monthly earnings. A high-value website normally gets a price tag which is equivalent to its normal income or revenue for a 12 to 18-month period. Thus, if you have a website that generates a monthly income of $8,000, then you can offer such website for sale at a price of $96,000 to $144,000. The selling price naturally increases by the stated time variable as the earning or revenue of the said site increases.

Using this price template, you can easily see how much income your website should generate in order to hit the million-dollar mark. For instance, if you want to create a website that will give you revenue of $1 million in a year, then you must create a site that can generate a monthly income of at least $30,000. Setting the required income level is a nifty way of ensuring that you are within the range of your target selling price of your website.

Hitting the Million-Dollar Mark

There are actually thousands of options and ways by which you can create a million-dollar website. This six-figure virtual cash cow can be an expert content or news site that generates substantial revenue through paid adverts. It may also be a reputable discussion forum where you can charge forum members monthly fees or some kind of gaming site where you can collect fees every time members play a particular online game or earn income in exchange for the access to your Website.

The opportunities to monetize your website are endless, and you only need to establish your goals and objectives in order to get a good grip of the direction that you want to take in your online business venture.

BIRT Reports: Playing a Vital Role in Business Scenario

Reports play a vital role in any Business Scenario. They are important to not only understand what is happening in your business but also to get an idea about management’s strategic plan for the coming year and how well the company is doing. Any organization that implements web reporting realizes the need for standards and controls in reporting infrastructure and content development, especially those implementations with large numbers of complex reports to maximize productivity and minimize training. BIRT, the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools project can create a controlled and easy to use reporting environment an organization.

The Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) Project a freely available, open database reporting technology that consisted of two major components, the report designer and the report server – which when combined allowed the user to create graphically rich reports that can be deployed from a central web server into a standard internet browser. Each BIRT report is made up of a series of components which can be highly graphical and interactive and whose behavior changes based on content.

The BIRT reporting technology was designed to live in a world of other systems; it is extensible, programmable and integrates well into existing applications and infrastructures. It can be implemented as a stand-alone service, embedded in web applications, or deployed as an end-user reporting portal. Anyone, with a reasonable working knowledge of the database against which they want to report can write reports that contain lists and graphs and that can allow the user to filter the data by any columns that the report author allows. In order to create a BIRT report one required a copy of Eclipse. This turned out to be a freely available, open source Integrated Development Environment (IDE) into which one installs the BIRT designer components.

A BIRT design specifies the data sources to access, the data values to display and how the information should be visually presented. Deployment technologies read BIRT design files, query the specified data sources and render the interactive BIRT output in any browsers.

As a Business moves from traditional banded reports to highly interactive, rich content, and navigable reports, it is important to understand the best design and development approaches to assure reuse, developer productivity and that the reports provide the most compelling user experience. The freely available BIRT reporting tools allow intermediate level users to create and deploy graphically rich, parameter driven reports. The report designer does need a good understanding of the source database and these reports are not capable of using the advanced, real time tools, but still offer an easy to use reporting environment with a result that is easy to deploy across the enterprise.

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.

3 Things Customers Look For In A Website

There is no doubt that a website is one of the effective ways to advertise your business to your customers. It has been proven in so many ways that a website not only contributes to the growth of a company but has also been considered as an essential marketing element. With the busy lifestyle of most customers, they usually opt to search the internet for the products and services they desire. Make sure that whatever content you post on your website will catch your customer’s attention and should be beneficial to them. Here are the three common things that a customer would look for in a website.

1. Relevant content
This is the most important factor that all websites should have. A good homepage does not only have an attractive layout and design but also relevant information about your business. No matter how great the graphics are and how fast it loads, but if your customers cannot relate to the things they read, then everything will be useless. There is no use of visiting a website if you cannot get valuable information. The main reason why a visitor checks out your page is because they are looking for something and hoping that they can find it in your site. However, if you are not able to satisfy them, then most likely you will never get a second visit.

2. Easy to navigate and fast-loading page
If your site offers a lot of things, you have to organize each element and display them as clearly as possible. People do not want to wait even for just a couple of seconds. They will most likely hit the “back” button if it loads a little longer, or if they are having a hard time finding the order form or the product gallery or other important details. You should make your website as easy as possible for your visitors to navigate. It gives you the chance to promote the other products or services that you offer aside from those that they are looking for.

3. Display your contact information
Keep in mind that not everyone who checks out your homepage wants to buy something. Furthermore, they may need a particular item that was not showcased in your page. By displaying your contact information, it encourages your customer to contact you for further assistance. Create a page that displays your company’s name, contact numbers, email address, office address and other essential details. Sharing a brief information about your company’s background makes your site a reliable source.

What to Do When Your Website Gets Attacked by a Virus?

Google Virus Alert!

Oh no, my page has been attacked again! It is frustrating to open your site and a Google warning glares at you. It is also embarrassing, and gives your company a bad rap.

“REPORTED ATTACK PAGE”

What do you do when something like this happens to you?

1. First you contact your webhost, and inform them of this incident. They usually clean it up for you without charging you. This is part of their webhosting service, but this is all they do for you.

Usually when this happens, they already detect the virus. They will sent you a warning to clean up your computer and recommend software like Stopbadware.org, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, etc.

2. Clean up your computer.

3. When your computer is clean and your site is clean, write Google and inform them about it to review your site and unblock your site to the public.

How to contact Google:

Now contacting Google gets to be a challenge because they don’t really have a contact number or a telephone number where you can call them.

The first step is to register to Google Webmaster Tools.

Once you are a member, you will need to verify the infected website to Google.

How do you do that?

Google will give you a set of codes, and you or your webmaster need to insert these codes into your site and upload your site with this new pasted codes to your server,
Send Google the link to the verified page.

After the page is uploaded into your server, you may now contact Google and request them to review your site, explain the steps you have taken and request them to lift the ban.

It may sound like a simple process but it is a really a long tedious process. Your site maybe clean in a couple of days, or for some, it can take weeks.

Usually WordPress sites are prone to virus. They need to be updated regularly.

Also it is advisable to have strong passwords and to change it from time to time.

Most of this virus are malware. They are malicious scripts that are injected to your site and disable some functions in your site.

After a site is clean, some functions don’t work as it should. So I suggest that you upload a backup of your site. Hopefully, you have a back up.

How do we stop this from happening again? I wish I knew a cure for this virus, like a cure for HIV or cancer. Unfortunately, we cannot prevent this from happening again, but there are preventive measures, which we will discuss in another topic.

Hiring Professionals for Custom Web Design Services

Is your business website failing to grab the attention of Internet surfers? Are the web designs unable to meet the customers’ expectations? Is your website lagging behind to give considerable business leads? All these serious issues need to be resolved before they start hampering your business. And, to run an online business successfully you might require professional web design services.

Nevertheless, each business follows unique ideas and strategies. From small companies to medium enterprises to large organizations, industry owners keep interest to have custom website design services for their online firms. After all, a website represents the professional image of the company in the virtual world of Internet. Once introduced over the web world, a site comes across scores of its competitors in the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo etc. And, in this competitive edge an effectively configured website can only find a remarkable virtual space.

With the large selection of web pages over the Internet, visitors are likely to switch on from one site to another. They usually tend to spend considerable time on that site which appears to be visually appealing and interesting. The graphics, logos, flash, banners and many more elements within a site should carry the potential to catch the eye-balls of the visitors and compel them to click on to its several other internal pages. The more a website carries the ability to hold its visitors, the maximum profit it assures to its owner.

While looking for business web design services, you will find a good number of professionals offering assistance at the expense of minimum budget and time. Before associating with them, it is necessary to understand that your business stands apart from your competitors and comprising with its quality might ruin your industry in the long run. Besides, you might have specific thoughts to put down into your online identity. By hiring inexperienced web designers, you may fail to bring your creative thinking into your business websites.

In order to get flawless website design services, you can consider looking for those companies which have adept web designers and developers. You can look for some web-based companies who have gained remarkable name in the market. There are a few companies which undergo research and analysis on vendors to provide web-based services. You can contact them to get detailed information about the professional web design services available in and around your city.

A few reputed service providers offer quality web-based packages to their clients. Other than designing services, their package is inclusive of content development, search engine optimization, social media optimization, web application development, web hosting and many more. They have various kinds of custom web design services to fit into the varying needs of their clients. You can consider contacting them to experience smooth operation of your online business firms.

Besides bringing down your creative business ideas, a few adept professionals are known for giving counseling services. They have in-depth understanding of website designing with respect to the ongoing market trend. They take pleasure in making the clients comfortable with the various designing themes to make the best selection as per the specific business interest.