Category Archives: Web Development

What Is So Great About WordPress?

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Every small business, every business even, every marketer, every church, every politician, needs a web presence. Years ago when I first began providing web presences for such people it took much more to convince them of the need. Today it seems almost every one of these people recognize the need even if they do not exactly know why. For the sake of this short article let’s assume everyone knows having a website gives direct access to your words, images and sound to nearly every person in your marketplace regardless of scope or size.

When the web first started gaining traction back in 1995 I could charge, and get, as much as $500-$1000 for a single web page, more for small business websites, that actually did something like accept information into a form or provide automated data responses to visitors. Plain static web pages would yield $150-$300 or more depending on graphics and how much content I created for the site owner. This trend continued for a few years and started to change when Microsoft and Macromedia (among others) came out with WYSIWYG, DIY solutions. Unfortunately this led to a proliferation of cookie cutter, amateurish websites which displayed awkwardly on various browsers, contained many errors in style and code, and all too often stayed out of date within days of being published.

29% of US Shoppers Use Mobile For Research/Inspiration

Every small business must have a mobile friendly website. Forget expensive mobile applications that people don’t want to download; we’re talking about a responsive design website people can use on their mobile device.  With today’s powerful content delivery systems small business owners, and individuals, can be online and ready for mobile in just a matter of hours. Here is why they should:

graph of mobile shopping stats showing US 29% of shoppers research online before buying

Nearly 30% of US shopping involves online research or inspiration.

Obviously no intelligent business owner would choose to neglect such a large buying population. In real numbers that percentage represents millions of people. As Google continues to improve their search results you can be sure they will, at least consider, omitting sites which are not mobile ready from the results of searches performed on a mobile device. Continue reading

Who’s Name Goes On The Article?

I suppose this is a common question for ghost writers, content creators and contract employees who create content for their clients. I get it all the time from my web content and blog content clients. The answer, for my services, is simple: If you buy ready made or generic content my name goes on it. If you retain my services (that means pay me to work for you) then your name goes on the content.

Image by EloquaCC 2.0

When You Buy Articles Who Is The Author?

You may or may not be aware than many “authors” actually give their writers the idea they want portrayed whether it’s for books, movies or blog articles and that’s the end of their involvement. In other words many “authors” do not actually write their own content. I know, right? Because I cannot speak on behalf of the many content writers out there who choose to write content on which others place their names I will use my services as an example to give you an understanding of how it works. With that said know when I am writing about services or fees I am writing about my services and my fees which may, or may not, be the general rule.

If a client comes to me with a very specific idea of what they want written and my services will mostly be research and assembly of data followed by a corrective re-write or less I generally charge $100 or more for a blog style article giving all rights to the client. On the other hand if someone simply wants 200 words give or take a dozen on the keyword topic of their choice and my name will stay on the blurb it’s literally only five bucks. Now bear in mind this is partially for my publicity so I do not release the full license for use of the content – this is a one off content license for the single purpose and it does not allow for the removal of the author’s information.

What happens when a client needs several pages of web content or blog content created? That’s where content packages come in. Perhaps my most popular package is one month of blog or web content written around a single keyphrase with 8 articles of approximately 500-700 words delivered throughout the month along with tracking through keyword tools (Google) on the performance of those phrases.

Points To Consider When You Want to Buy Content

As terrible as this may sound to my wonderful sister and multi-degreed Dr. Northcutt, the lifelong educator, grammar and sentence structure truly are not the primary consideration where SEO is concerned. Is it important? Oh, you bet – it’s just not the most important. My intent by beginning this section with this slap from a wet trout is to say hiring a writer fresh out of journalism school is not guaranteed to return the advancements you need. In fact this world is all about appeasing the reader with relevant information and that being picked up by Google’s ever changing algorithms as they seek (so they claim) to provide only the best, most relevant information to their search customers.

How to create a Google Site – Part 2 (with video)

Part 1 of How to create a Google Site is here.

This is still so very simple to do literally anyone can do it. This is how to add a theme (change the look) of your Google site.

Using Google Sites for you business is not recommended but certainly as an extension of your Internet reach or to get you started they are an option freely available to you. Be sure to work along on your Google Site and I am relatively certain you will soon out-run the tutorials and take off on your own. If you have ever created a site anywhere you will find you don’t even need the tutorials.

Web designer or developer? Why you should care

Back in the ancient days of web development, around 1995 or so, the common name most “gurus” chose for themselves was “Webmaster”. Of course that is, and was, a real term which was not clearly understood in the main stream. The definition, clearly being written, for a Webmaster was essentially: the person charged with overseeing the operation of a website. This included everything from development and design to content and data control. Within the name Webmaster, however, fall two distinct services which are rarely separated in main stream conversation yet when one is engaging the services needed it is relative and of high importance to know and comprehend the differentiations of these two terms developer and designer.

iCobb has provided development since the mid 90's

Why is it important to know the difference between a designer and a developer?

 

Almost certainly there will be a few who read this post and make the argument it really does not matter. For the person or company writing the checks that statement could be dangerous and costly. Understanding the difference and knowing which tasks are performed by each can help even a small site owner save time and money as well as other types of capital simply by knowing what goals each position is charged with attaining.

A designer

Are you optimized for the mobile web?

You have heard it, you’ve read about it, people who appear to know stuff have told you: the digital revolution is unwired and if you don’t feed it what it needs to exist it will move on without you. When is this going to happen? It’s already, almost, so last year.

We cannot imagine the resistance Alexander Bell experienced. I remember hearing old people talking about it back int he 60′s saying they thought the phone would be a huge invasion and some called it “the devil’s box”. Why do we always credit “the devil” with innovation? But I digress. Let’s look at communications changes over the last few thousand years:Infographic of the history of communications

When I was in communcations classes some 30 years ago we were told 90% of the advancements in communications had been made since 1900. The number today must be closer to 99% of the advancements since 1969.

Many humans are slow to embrace change. Those who are generally miss the opportunity to leverage the excitement of new chances. Now we all know not everyone can do everything. You can’t be a specialist at real estate and a social media guru and a web programmer and a mobile technology expert … the list goes on. You can, however, use the technology as it is made available to you as an “early adopter”.

The important reason to be an early adopter is because if you are a late adopter by the time you start using the old technology another technology has come into play and the old technology is dead. Why is this important? Be where your buyers are coming instead of where they have already been.

We know, now, after me being laughed and scoffed at by Mrs. Garner some 15 years ago, over 80% of all home searches are started on the internet. I bet if she were still in the business she’d have a website just like every other agent. But I wonder if she would scoff at me when I called to tell her she needs to optimze her website for mobile?

What does this mean, “optimize for mobile”?

Simply put a website created for display on a larger screen laptop or desk top computer is not going to present well on a smaller screen mobile device. The browsers, for the most part, are completely different, smaller in byte size and present the web pages in a different manner than when used on a computer. Even though mobile is new it is re-inventing a few wheels to make use of existing data in the new technology.

Finally! WordPress 3.1 is here

We’ve been playing with it. As developers we’ve checked our themes, plugins and widgets. We’ve talked about it in the WP develoepr community. We’ve seen things we really liked and saluted. We’ve seen things we didn’t like and submitted them for changes … and finally, after months of hard effort – WordPress 3.1 is live!

wordpress 3.1 releasedWhat does this mean for you?

If you host on the free WordPress.com site it means you’ll see a few new features like I wrote about at WordPress 3.1 – Developers get ready. That’s really about it.

WordPress – the website you can update yourself

Repeat after me, “WordPress is NOT a blog!”

Back between 1995 and about 2000 one of the most costly website jobs to program was a dynamic and interactive website the user could update and maintain on their own. During that period I was able to create some pretty amazing sites, or extensions to sites, for companies like Loomis&Fargo, Shari’s Restaurants, SiGARMS, CrossGeneration Comics, The American Outdoorsman, and many more. Honestly my team and I worked quite diligently to create those sites, mostly eCommerce solutions, to allow the company’s webmasters to update and make minimal changes to the site.

If WordPress had existed back then instead of a few thousand dollars for each site the companies could have had a much more powerful solution for a few hundred or at the most a couple thousand. They also could have been online in hours instead of weeks. So when you try to comprehend what WordPress is just think of a website you can update yourself by adding pages, images, videos, calendars, mailing lists, appointment scheduling, online stores … so much more.

What can you do with WordPress?

Repeat after me, “WordPress is not a blog.” WordPress can be used as a blog because it’s just that powerful. It can also be used as a user community, an online store, a matchmaking service, an inventory control system, a static website (old school), a photo album community, a real estate site, an auction site … seriously.

WordPress is a Content Management System. If you can send an email you can run one of the most robust websites available.

WordPress for Real Estate

Don’t get ripped off. Don’t pay hundreds of dollars for what is only worth maybe $300 at max.

First question from most people’s mouth: do you have any sites you can show me?

WooThemes - WordPress themes for everyoneHere’s the thing – it’s WordPress. The theme is the site.  You pick your look. Click on the link to the right and choose from hundreds of looks. (Don’t let the word “membership” confuse you. Call me if it does 877-700-0536) Or you can give me $1500-$2000 and I will choose for you. (That’s a joke that many people fall for – by getting burned paying for someone to install one of these themes for that price.)

ANYBODY CAN INSTALL A THEME. If you are paying someone to install a theme it should not be more than about $35. Even to customize a theme’s looks you should not pay more than about $150 including the creation of a custom header/banner image for most cases.