Web Design Blog

Just got done applying a new "skin" to this site... after building dozens of custom Joomla templates for client projects, I decided it was time to treat my own site to that same custom treatment! Below is a before & after mock-up - what do you think? Thanks for visiting!!

View the embedded image gallery online at:
https://www.covingtoncreations.com/blog/page-15#sigProIde6e1434eb7

When it comes to building your company's web site, there are two basic ways to build it.  The first method is to use a program like Dreamweaver to build the template, menu, and pages using HTML.  Each page becomes a separate HTML file, and all of the HTML files are interconnected.  For basic sites, this method is fine.

If you want to have more control over your site, you will want to use a Content Management System (CMS).  Compared to the first method, where each page becomes a separate HTML file, a CMS-powered site will store each page into a database.  This way, all of your content is stored in rows and columns, which makes it much easier to manage.  For example, you could display the latest 5 articles on your home page.  If your site is built using a database, you can tell the home page to look inside the database for the most recent 5 articles, instead of creating all of the links by hand in HTML.  A real time saver!

There are two basic types of CMS software.  One is a commercial license, where a software company charges a setup fee, plus maintenance, for using their software.  This Enterprise-level software typically costs a few thousand dollars for the setup fee, and a couple hundred a month for maintenance.  Examples of commercially licensed CMS software include Ektron and Red Dot.

The other type of CMS software is Open Source.  Open Source software is free to use, and free to customize.  It is supported by an online community of developers - thousands of nerds from all over the world (like me) develop, support, maintain, and upgrade the software so that they can use it for their own purposes.  Frequently, a client who needs an open-source plugin will fund the initial project, and makes the resulting software freely available.  Some developers also build commercial plugins which can be purchased, typically for less than $100.  Examples of such Open Source CMS packages include Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, and OSCommerce.

Also, a CMS-powered site will be easier to enhance, upgrade, or re-skin in the future.  Many CMS packages will have basic functions like search, rss feeds, and image uploading capabilities built-in.  Also, a strong CMS platform (my personal favorites are wordpress and Joomla) will have a plugin system which will allow you to add features to your site such as eCommerce, photo galleries, client extranets, online communities, discussion forums, and more.

It appears that Google Maps / Google Local Business Center has updated their listings service to include reporting and other data - neat! (see below) If your business is not listed in Google's local business center, you can add your listing here.


Dear Nate,

We are writing to let you know about an important update to your Google Local Business Center account (log in at www.google.com/lbc).

Your account now has a new interface designed to show you more about how customers interact with your verified business listing. A new reporting dashboard shows statistics about your business listing, like how many users saw your business as a local search result, zip codes where driving directions requests come from, and the top search queries for which your business appeared. Here is a sample of your data:

Business: Covington Creations, LLC
Impressions in the last 30 days: 282

This information and more can also be found here: www.google.com/lbc.

Sincerely,

The Google Maps Team
Google Inc

 

Tip: You can now hire us to manage your Google Local Business listing data, along with other social media and website optimization requirements.  

analytics_network_location_menuAs a business owner, it is frustrating to think that there are potential clients browsing my web site that I may never know about or meet. These people may have found my site by accident, and they might have received my direct mail piece which has motivated them to log onto your site.

What can we find out about these people? Our first stop is Google Analytics, which is a free visitor tracking tool. You could literally spend all day going through the data that Google gives you. My favorite place to "snipe for sales leads" is the Google Analytics "Network Location" report. For starters, this is how we access this data:


  1. Log into Google Analytics here:
    http://www.google.com/analytics/
    (If you don't have an Analytics account, it's free. You should.)
  2. Click "view reports" on the opening screen to access your reports.
  3. In the menu of the left side of the page, navigate here:
    Visitors -> Network Properties -> Network Location

Questions we can answer using some (free) Google search techniques:
  1. Which pages does Google have indexed from my site?
    This is a great way to see if any pages are listed in Google that you don't want the general public to see!  If you recently launched your site, this technique will tell you if Google has you in their system yet or not.  View a listing of all pages that Google has indexed from your site by searching for "site:www.yourcompany.com"
  2. What other pages link to my site?
    This is a great way to see how popular your site is (in Google's eyes) which is one of the greatest contributors to SEO / organic listing rank. View a listing of all pages that Google records (generally only of PageRank4 or higher) by searching for "link:www.yourcompany.com"
    Bonus hint: If you want to receive notifications any time someone mentions your company or brand on Google, sign up for Google Alerts.
  3. I just lost a page or graphic from my web site - how can I recover it?
    Option 1: Use Google's Cache
    Bonus hint (Option 2): Use Archive.org's Way Back Machine

In an article released earlier this month, the French Police reported saving millions of euros by adopting Ubuntu, an open-source alternative to Microsoft Windows.  This is because open-source software is free to use.  It is developed by thousands of like-minded computer nerds (like me) who collaborate to build powerful, effective software.

Open source content management system software is a great way to take control of your web site, and unlike 10 years ago, it won't cost you $20,000 to hire a developer to build it from scratch.  Contact us to learn how open source software can help make your web site work for you!

Google has released a video explaining the logic behind bidding on keywords using Adwords:

"Our Chief Economist, Hal Varian, explains the AdWords Ad Auction and how your max CPC bid and quality score determine how much you pay for a click on Google.com."

Disclaimer:  Whenever he says, "Google wants to make a good experience for both the advertiser and the user so that they come back and use our services in the future" - he really means, "Google wants to keep advertisers and users connected through their revenue machine."

Facebook has recently launched a new application that allows people to post comments using their Facebook accounts to 3rd-party sites.

commentsbox

This means two things:

  1. People that leave comments with their account are more likely to leave honest, legitimate comments on your site, as it will be linked directly to their Facebook profile.
  2. During periods of heavy traffic, your own web server is not handling all of the traffic, as all of the comments and user logins will run from Facebook's server instead.

Please contact us if you are interested in adding this functionality to your site!

Covington Creations is featured in the upcoming CBCC W4 Magazine! Click here to see the article. (pdf)

(Yes, this is the same testimonial that I featured in this case study)

Note: The software demonstrated below can be adapted to power any existing Web site or customized to specification. For more information, contact us.

I just made a bunch of these nifty tutorial videos to show how easy it can be to update your own web site without any programming skills.  

Latest Comments

Just received one today (16 Aug 2022) from "Mailchimp". Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for posting this. I just got one today. I was 99% sure it was a scam, and your post confirmed...
Thank you. I just got one of these emails and was suspicious so I did a search.
Another one for 2022 Hello, Your website or a website that your company hosts is violating the copy...
Nate Covington posted a comment in Download XMap for Joomla - All Versions Joomla
Hi, I stopped using Xmap years ago. Not sure about your particular error with Hikashop. I suggest ...


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