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.
Today we launch Bookeroo – our brand new event management system. If you’re busy running a successful event, Bookeroo frees you up to concentrate on running that event by taking the bookings headache away. Bookeroo allows you to create events, schedules, define venues and event capacity. More importantly it allows your customers complete the entire booking process online – leading to less stress for you and eliminating needless errors.
You can check out the bookeroo page on ClearSoft.ie here and it’s own website here.
The General Data Protection Regulation is an EU regulation on data protection and privacy that comes into effect on May 25th of this year. It applies to personal data held on all citizens of the EU and any personal data transferred out of the EU.
In simple terms GDPR aims to give control to individuals over their personal data and how it is stored. This impacts on all businesses that capture user data and of course one of the main areas where businesses capture user data is on their website through contact forms, cookies, customer databases, newsletter subscription lists etc.
First of all let’s briefly examine what SSL / TLS means. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and was developed in the mid 90’s to serve as a security mechanism in the infancy of the internet. The main benefit SSL gave was to protect from ‘man in the middle’ attacks whereby somebody eavesdropping on a network connection could gather sensitive information (usernames, passwords, credit card details etc.) and also manipulate network traffic to trick clients into thinking they were talking to an authentic server and vice versa. SSL underwent a number of version updates over the years and in 2015 was replaced with TLS (Transport Layer Security). SSL & TLS are effectively the same concept, TLS is just a newer and more secure version of SSL – however SSL remains the most commonly used term for historical reasons.
So do you need an SSL / TLS certificate on your website? If you’re running an e-commerce website where customers can log in and pay for items on your site – you absolutely need a valid certificate. If you are the victim of a ‘man in the middle’ attack and you don’t have this protection, your customers sensitive information will be visible to the attackers – and that is very bad news for you and if you’re found to be negligent, will have serious legal consequences.