The internet is a vast collection of websites, pages, files and resources scattered around millions of web servers around the world. In the mid 90’s many companies tried with different levels of success to index the internet and make it possible to search for websites and pages. By the turn of the millennium one clear winner emerged and not surprisingly they have become one of the biggest companies in the world. In fact they have had such an immense impact on the world, their name has become a verb! I am of course talking about Google.
Google have become, for many, the front door to the internet. It’s a place where people come to begin their voyage of discovery. It is reputable and it can’t be fooled. It goes without saying that if you’re in business, it is very desirable to be on top of the search results for your chosen keywords and this is why SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is so important.
First of all we’d like to wish a very happy 2020 to all of our clients, friends and anybody reading this blog. 2019 was a great year and we’re excited by upcoming projects in 2020. One of the projects we’re looking forward to in early 2020 is a mobile app for a Gorey based business – and we thought we’d take this opportunity to describe the benefits of an app to your business or organisation.
For the purposes of this article, we will be discussing only native apps here. See our post on the differences between native apps and mobile apps for more context.
They live an unloved existence in the shadows. Forgotten by their owners & creators, scoffed at by visitors. They were once the golden child, shiny, bright and new – admired and showcased. But now they go unnoticed, uncared for and abandoned. These are the orphaned websites.
An orphaned website is one which is in need of maintenance but the owner struggles to find somebody to carry this out. Every month we get a number of queries in from website owners who set up their site with a different web designer or an online website creator and they’re looking for our help to make changes to the site. Unfortunately we don’t take on this business, our websites are built to a certain standard that not all web designers follow so we politely decline maintenance request contracts from customers who have sourced their websites elsewhere.
WordPress is a very powerful platform for creating and managing websites. When clients come to us looking for help in setting up a website, for 90% of cases WordPress fits the bill (business website with contact forms, blog, online shop etc.). The remainder are in scope for a bespoke solution – their requirements can’t be satisfied with an off the shelf solution like WordPress.
Most web designers can’t facilitate this group as they don’t have the web development skills. See our article here on the differences between web designers and developers. We are both designers and developers which means that we can create something beautiful but has bespoke functionality around your requirements.
This post is mostly cantered about why I don’t like online website builders. Am I biased? Of course I am! Is a part of me jealous of these companies? Sure. Is the technology impressive? Absolutely. Am I a website snob? Maybe ….
That said, I genuinely don’t believe these solutions are good for most businesses for a number of reasons that I’ll outline here. But first we must go back in time to 2006.
I established ClearSoft in 2006 and had visions of developing a product that would provide an affordable set of tools for non-technical people to create a website from nothing. This system would be web based and while it would work for sports clubs, community organisations and personal sites – it was specifically aimed at small business. Sound familiar?
Since the launch of the first smartphones in 2007 the term ‘app’ has taken off in a huge way and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the term was invented at this time. Apps or applications have been around since the dawn of computing and are essentially programs or software that run and execute functionality. We have been creating applications here in ClearSoft before smartphones saw the light of day.
So when we receive enquiries about app development, the client will normally mean a mobile phone app. Very often we find that they are not aware of web apps and we will talk them through the differences. In this article we will describe native and web apps under the headings below :-
- Maintenance / Upgrades
- Look and feel
One of the key decisions when shopping for a website is value for money. You can pay from as little as a couple of hundred euros to tens of thousands of euros. One thing to be careful of is understanding that the terms ‘value for money’ and ‘cheap’ are very different things.
All websites are not equal in the same way that all cars are not equal. If you were in the market for a reliable & safe family car, you wouldn’t open up a search engine and type in ‘Cheap cars for sale’. I think most people would have a fair idea on what makes and models they had in mind and this would shape their budget. So if you want a brand new German jeep, you’ll have different expectations and search parameters than if you wanted a second hand family saloon. You’ll see the difference between both – shapes, colours, comfort, technical features, power etc.
The same tells aren’t necessarily visible in a website. So when it comes to a website (and let’s stay with the car theme here), you may be in the market for nice new Mondeo but if you don’t ask the right questions, you could easily buy a 15 year old Fiesta that has 4 bald tires, a rusting engine and no NCT!
If you’re in the market for a new website one of the initial steps will be to shop around for quotes. There is no standard template for web design agencies to respond to quotes so it can be difficult for you to understand what the quote entails. The quote itself will show you the estimated price, but that doesn’t tell you what you’re getting for that price.
With this in mind we have created a list of questions that you should ask as part of your quote request. This should help you identify how much bang you’re getting for your buck.
From time to time you may see the terms web design and web development intermingled and while they may be related, they are very different concepts.
Web design is the process of laying out web pages. Where to put the text, the images, the logo, the buttons – which fonts to use etc. A good web designer will have the skills to make the page attractive, intuitive and provide an overall good user experience.
WordPress is the most popular website content management system in the world and powers a reported 34% of all the worlds websites – that’s over 75 million sites! So it should come as no surprise that here at ClearSoft, we have a number of WordPress sites in that 75 million.
WordPress is robust, extendable, usable and has a vibrant community constantly working on enhancements and new features. Many of the top websites in the world such as TED, CNN, People Magazine, UPS amongst others use it as their chosen platform.
With great popularity comes great threats. Given the scale of its user base, it can be very attractive for hackers to probe for back doors into this system – and they succeed regularly. And when they succeed once, it’s very easy for them to propagate an attack to hit millions of WordPress installations around the world. The WordPress development community is in a constant ongoing battle to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.