Successful Blog Posts From Nick Throlson

Do's and Don'ts Every Web Developer Should Know

Do’s and Don’ts Every Web Developer Should Know

Web design has to be one of the most arduous modern day professions. Seeing your website going live may make up for all the hardships during development, but the result does not erase the fact that to reach it, you had to spend countless hours perfecting the code, troubleshooting, and minding the overall design. We offer several Do's and Don'ts that might cut your checklist shorter by reminding you of the few things you should be aware of at all times during development.

Don’t gamble early on

Don’t immediately go for the latest software or the greatest new build out, if you don’t have a solid plan how to go about working with it. Taking an unnecessary risk, in this case, might not grant you a high reward. By choosing the latest software that you and your colleagues might not be familiar with, you are using up time you do not have and opening up possibilities for bugs and troubleshooting for days on end. Start with a reliable software or platform, and once you have settled in comfortably, take smaller steps to experiment with completely new software. That way, if it even comes to losses, they are minimal.

Don’t access a user database directly with user-supplied information

When a database is accessed directly with the information supplied by the users, you are leaving the door wide open for possible security breaches. This could erase archives with very sensitive data, or give access to confidential information regarding your users. And it can all go into the input box on your website.

This is easily addressed by sanitizing user input: you limit how many characters they can use to input a username or a password, whether they can or cannot contain other symbols, and have the code reject any character input you have not pre-approved.

Don’t neglect SEO

Many developers have the tendency to leave SEO as the last thing to do for the website when, in fact, it is something that needs to be tackled as you go along. SEO is more than just keywords, content, alt text in images, etc. It also deals with back linking between pages, accounts for load time, gets rid of duplicated content, and keeps the hierarchy of important pages and links refreshed and constantly updated. So, to avoid having to restructure entire sections of your website, later on, take SEO into consideration from the very start.

Do keep users in mind

The safest way to stay on track with the original idea and design is to create a profile of what your typical user would be. When you know the demographic, and the target audience, it is easier to analyze the type of people that will be visiting our website. You can build the website around the given data: their age, occupation, financial standing, and lifestyle. These will dictate the user experience, from font styles to the navigation between pages.

Do focus on multi – platforming

You can decide to optimize your website for PC users only. And in a time when fewer and fewer people sit at their computers for longer periods of time, this would be a big mistake. A lot of e-commerce and browsing nowadays occurs via tablets, smartphones and other devices. To ensure the website is visited as frequently as possible, adapt the website so it can be seen and read clearly across multiple platforms.

Do save the user’s time

The attention span has been in decline over the last twenty years, and new technologies only sped up the process. It is the reality of the modern age and in order to succeed, you will have to adapt to this. Many expert web developers from Sydney advise “trimming the fat” wherever possible. Get rid of excess imagery in your gallery or pages that cause slow loading time; write shorter texts, then blend them with pictures to create quickly scrollable content that will also be informative and useful.

To sum up

Thoroughly plan how to go about the development process of your web page. There are countless factors that can impact not only the final outcome of your work but the process itself as well. As Murphy’s Law says “If anything can go wrong, it will”, so prepare for everything. It is wise to make your own checklist of Do’s and Don’ts upfront and keep them around as a reminder. The best way to stay on track is to create your typical user profile and tailor the design to them. In this way, you ensure that whatever choice is made, it is in the user’s best interest.

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E-Commerce Website Security Tips

E-Commerce Website Security Tips

 

The Internet is an amazing platform for any business that sells products, be it clothing, food, car parts, diet pills, or something else. However, there is no bigger threat to your business’ online presence than cyber criminals. The importance of securing your e-commerce website cannot be undervalued. The impact of a breach could be devastating, resulting in downtime for your e-store, as well as non-compliance fines, negative press, and broken consumer trust. This is the last thing any business wants. With that in mind, read on for some e-commerce website security tips to follow.

Demand strong passwords – Make sure all of your users have strong passwords by implementing requirements they need to meet when creating a password. For instance, enforce all users to create a password containing lower and upper case letters, special characters, and numbers. You can also introduce two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security. In most cases, users will be sent a code via email or to their smartphone, and they will need to enter this once they have input their password.

Don’t store sensitive billing information – You need to be cautious about the data you keep. Don’t store all customer billing information for the sake of it. In fact, you should keep as little as possible. Any of the data you do store needs to be heavily encrypted. When it comes to credit and debit card data, the only information you should keep a hold of is the data needed to process chargebacks and refunds. You will find more advice on securing customer data here.

Use numerous layers of security – One security solution is never enough. No security approach is perfect, and hackers are persistent, meaning they will always find a way in. That is why you need to ensure that they are met with another brick wall when they do.

Choose a secure e-commerce platform – There are many e-commerce platforms available today. However, a lot of people have a tendency to choose the flashier platforms over the secure platforms. The latter is definitely the most important. Choose an e-commerce package that enables you to enforce strong passwords. Also, the checkout page needs to be secure too.

Have a recovery plan in place – Last but not least, it is essential to have a technological service such as disaster recovery by Infrascale in place. No matter how much time or money you spend in securing your company, you can never fully guarantee that a breach will not take place. By establishing a recovery plan, you can ensure that the impact of the data breach is minimized as much as possible, giving your business a fighting chance of recovering from the horrendous event.

As you can see, there are a number of different ways you can protect your e-commerce website from a breach, and you are advised to take each and every method on board. After all, if you do not protect your e-store adequately, you are simply asking hackers to target your business.

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How to Start Investing or Trading with Low Capital

How To Personalize The Shopping Experience on Your E commerce Site

As customer expectations continue to rise, in the world of e-commerce, so, therefore, does the need of site owners to offer a premium online shopping experience. As e-commerce sites don’t have the luxury of tactility and interaction that physical shops offer, they must now work harder and more strategically to find a way to engage consumers and drive desire in order to ensure strong sales.

The best way to ensure consumers are staying on our e-commerce sites for longer and are making it all the way through to the checkout is by personalizing the shopping experience that we are offering. Below are our top tips on how to provide premium e-commerce environments that will ensure strong sales and steady growth.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence can sound like a rather overwhelming, confusing and somewhat futuristic term. But for anyone involved in the world of e-commerce it is not a term that you can ignore. Continued development in the field of artificial intelligence, otherwise known as ‘AI’, is providing e-commerce site owners with a wealth of new opportunities on how to improve the customer experience they are offering their consumers. AI in e-commerce helps to build better connections with customers, build loyal relationships and therefore drive conversion, so it is crucial that all e-commerce entrepreneurs are getting their heads around how it can improve what we can offer.

Not only can AI improve the customer service you are offering it can also lead to increased conversions and increased customer loyalty. It can allow you to add virtual shopping assistants that can monitor and track consumer movements and therefore predict future activity. AI can allow you to send alerts to your consumer if you are offering a discount on an item they have been showing interest in but have not yet purchased. It can allow customers to chase and track the progress of their packages and allow them to feel that they can stay on top of their order. These are just a few of the ways AI can improve the quality of your online shopping experience, so as you can see it’s well worth the time investment to understand how it can help to build the quality and complexity of your business.

Influencing

With customers becoming so much more technologically savvy and demanding in their online purchasing behavior, personalizing their experience is all about understanding those growing demands and needs, reacting to them in order to be able to influence. Consumers want to feel that they are part of an online community whilst also feeling that their individual needs are being catered to. That almost contradictory balancing act is not an easy one for e-commerce site owners to get right.

Providing a cohesive and tailored experience to your consumers is no mean feat and takes careful planning and detailed consideration. Your brand should be offering your consumers, more than just products. Your brand should be offering access to a certain lifestyle, giving a sense of inclusion and should encourage consumers to engage with the brand and products in order to really become a part of that community.

Once consumers begin interacting with your products that is when they truly feel part of that desired community and their experience becomes personalized, unique and, most importantly for you, loyal.

Therefore driving your consumers to engage with your brand via social media platforms will ensure that your customers feel that the communication between themselves and your company is two-way and they can, therefore, feel important. Encouraging your consumers to begin interacting with you online will help build a community and a ton of content surrounding your products. This will, in turn, raise the profile of your brand and increase consumer confidence both of which will mean your position of influence will be radically increased.

Create Customer Loyalty Schemes

Customers love nothing more than a good deal, so creating loyalty schemes will make your customer feel that by staying loyal to your site will bring them rewards that they just can’t miss out on. However again, this should not be a one-size-fits-all approach and should be approached with that same objective of trying to personalize.

Approach customer loyalty schemes analytically and with the intention of making each consumer feel special and valued. Research the main desires, wants and needs of your customers and tailor your loyalty schemes to reflect the fact that you understand what your clients need and that you are there to deliver. Think of unique customer experiences that you can offer on your site, individualized promotions, tailored email campaigns. Maybe you can even think about how you can create a VIP offering to your most dedicated clients to make sure they feel really taken care of and appreciated. Whatever it is making sure it feels customized and really personal to each of your consumers.

Create a Varied & Layered Customer Experience

One consumer's favorite feature on your site might be another consumer's worst. Therefore, offering a multi-channel consumer experience can mean that you are catering for a wide range of tastes and preferences. Building many different interesting layers into your e-commerce site incentivizes customers to explore the various options at their disposal so think carefully about the different facets that you can bring to your site to make consumers want to explore and delve into the interesting layers of your product offerings. This will not just increase customer engagement, it will create the illusion of a more personalized shopping experience, as consumers will be approaching the site in their own unique way, in turn boosting your conversion rates.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the best way to communicate with your customers in a one-on-one way. With the right sort of marketing message you can grab the attention of your consumers and make them feel valued and that their relationship with your brand is a powerful one. After monitoring and researching the patterns occurring on your site, think carefully about what those consumer patterns are revealing to you about your customers and their experience on your site. Then find a way to communicate that you understand their needs and offer the perfect solution to their problem. This personalized approach will make them feel that you know them, that you care and that you see them a valued individual consumer.

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Branding

Second Time Lucky: Gain Success By Relaunching Your Business

Launch_of_Space_Shuttle_Atlantis

It's easier than you might think for a business to find themselves stuck in a rut. They might have been going for a good few years, but failed to keep up with the times. It's easy for a family business or small company to fall behind, especially when what they have been doing might have worked for them for several decades. But if things are starting to stagnate, it's important to do something about it. One option is to relaunch the business, which could help you to get some more attention and remind people of your company. Your relaunch could involve rebranding or even a new name. But how do you make it a success?

 

Analyzing Your Marketplace

Before you relaunch your business, you might need to take a good look at your target market. If you've let the progress of your business slide recently, you could find that you're out of touch with what your customers want. Things change all the time, and people start to expect new things, while other elements of business fall out of favor. Maybe now your customers want to communicate with you online and not over the phone. Perhaps they want to be able to make an appointment or booking using their phone, without having to talk to anyone to confirm it. You need to know what your potential customers are looking for.

 

What Does Relaunching Entail?

If you've decided to relaunch your business, you should have a think about what that means. A business relaunch could entail one of several things, so don't assume that it will always be a total rebrand. Relaunching your business could simply mean getting in touch with your existing customer base to give them a little more attention. It could be sending out an email with a special offer or making a few phone calls to some potential new clients. However, you could also go further and completely transform your business to help you find a new customer base.

Branding

Rebranding

Some business owners who decide on a relaunch choose to rebrand their whole business. While this can be a big and sometimes expensive move, it's often a good choice if your business is in desperate need of an update. You can find the right firm to do your website design and branding so you can give your business a new look. But your rebrand should be about more than just image. You also need to think about things like customer service and the tone of voice you want to use in official communications.

 

New Name?

Renaming your business is a possibility, but deciding if it's the right choice can be tough. You might have existing or past customers who know you by one name and could be confused or put off by a new name. However, if you feel like your brand has fallen into obscurity, a new name could be what it needs to refresh it.

If you think relaunching your business is the right choice, you need a plan of action. You might make some big moves or choose a softer approach.

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Man on Laptop Computer

Revealed: Everything You Ever Needed To Know About Website Hosting

When it comes to getting a new website, you will no doubt have a specific vision in mind for how you wish to attract your target audience. You’ll also have some idea of the content you want on your site, and how you wish to interact with your visitors.

Man on Laptop ComputerFor the most part, people either design their new websites themselves or they hire a professional to do the work for them. But, what many new site owners often forget about is a consideration for their website hosting requirements.

Any website needs to get hosted on an Internet-connected Web server somewhere so that it can be publicly accessible. Do a quick search online, and you’ll come across thousands of hosting providers. So, finding one isn’t a problem; you just need to pick the right one for your needs! With that in mind, this practical cheat sheet will tell you all you need to know about Web hosting.

Why it matters to choose the right host

Like with most things in life, there are reputable and dependable hosting companies, and there are the scam ones that offer a sub-standard service. As you can appreciate, it’s in your interests to select a good host for your website!

You may not know it, but there are many reasons why it pays to choose a hosting company that offers a superior service:

  • Fast access speed – search engines like Google will lower your rank (standing) on their indices if your website is slow to connect to;
  • Help when you need it – if you accidentally break something on your website, a reputable host will assist you by restoring your site data from a previous backup. Many will also diagnose the reason why something isn’t working on your website;
  • Value for money – you don’t want to pay money for a sub-standard service;
  • Flexibility – if you need to increase your disk space or bandwidth, or install new software on your site, a good host can easily accommodate those needs for you.

Servers

How to choose the right host for your needs

Now you know the importance of selecting a reputable hosting provider, you now need to find one! But, how do you do that? It turns out that searching for a good host is easier than you think.

You just need to ask yourself a few questions to know what type of hosting package you need:

  • What type of website am I hosting? If you plan to use something like WordPress, you’ll need a host that offers database connectivity;
  • Where is my target audience? If your site is aimed at a domestic audience, choose a host that is based in the same country as you;
  • What server facilities do I need? Examples include email mailboxes, FTP access, and provision for CRON jobs;
  • How much do I want to pay? It’s important to set yourself a budget and find a best-of-class hosting provider for your budget.

Now it’s possible to shortlist a selection of prospective Web hosts for your website. Once you’ve done that, review all feedback for each provider using sites like Reevoo. Afterward, do a Google search for any discount offers for the host you wish to use.

For instance, if you want to select GoDaddy as your future website host, search for GoDaddy promo codes that you can enter online when you order your hosting package.

Hosting glossary of terms

 

Digital Computer Coding Html Code Programming Web

Last, but not least, you will come across all kinds of terms and acronyms for Web hosting. But, what do they all mean, and are they relevant to you? Here’s a list of the most common ones that you should know:

 

  • PHP – scripting language that most hosts offer on their servers. A plethora of online software packages are written in PHP;
  • MySQL – a commonly offered database system by hosting companies. Is quite similar to Microsoft SQL Server;
  • Apache – the brand name of the Web server software that allows you to operate a website and “serve” content such as pages and multimedia to your visitors;
  • Bandwidth – the data sent and received by your host, measured in megabytes or gigabytes.

I hope this article has been useful for you today. See you soon!

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