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Archive for July, 2012

Designing Gorgeous Websites: Web Design Packages

When you are looking to build a website, making it look good is high on the list of importance. A well designed website can speak volumes about your brand and send the message you want your customers to hear. Attractive web design can be the difference between someone choosing your site over your competitors. Make sure your website is well designed to attract visitors.

Web design packages are a great way to get good web design at affordable prices. A package offers you a complete solution from start to finish at competitive prices.

Before choosing website design packages, it is always good to research designs you like to get some great inspiration from web design ideas. Looking at your competitors is also a sound strategy to see what they are doing and how you can stand out from them. Find websites that you like and write down the elements that you like and think would suit your brand. Doing this basic research will help you visualise what style of website you would like and it is also helpful when it comes to trying to convey your vision to the designer.

A good web designer will involve you in the process. It’s important to hear what the client wants and understand their vision. The designer should grasp the brand image and through bespoke web design, extend that onto the web. A consultation meeting before starting anything should happen between you and your designer to ensure you are both on the same page and aiming for the same vision.

What if you want to change something down the line and your site is already up and running?
That is no problem for skilled designers. They will be able to make the changes and adapt the site while minimising downtime for your business website.

When it comes to SEO, web design plays an important role. The search engine spiders need to be able to crawl your site easily and effectively. If your site layout and architecture is not easily crawlable, the search engines might skip some pages that they can’t find. A good designer will keep SEO in mind when designing your site.

Taking all these factors into account you should have a good idea of the path to choosing great web design packages.

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Monday, July 16th, 2012 by admin Uncategorized 4 Comments

 

Creating an Ecommerce Site: An End to End Process

Deciding to build an Ecommerce is a smart decision for a lot of businesses looking to gain a foothold online. The amount of money being spent online is ever increasing and the trend is set to continue well into the future. If your business is not online right now, Ecommerce website development is a great option to open up another stream of revenue and advertising for your business.

Ecommerce web development is different to a normal website because it needs to have purchasing ability on it. Customers need to be able to browse your website, add a product to a “cart” and then pay at the “checkout”. Each one of these steps requires special commerce software to operate efficiently.

Which Ecommerce software to use?

There are powerful free Ecommerce platforms that you can use that suit nearly all types of businesses. On the other hand, if you need a customised solution, a good web developer will be needed to design a solution to your specific business needs.

In order for a customer to actually pay for the goods on your site, a payment gateway will be needed. They can often be easily integrated with your Ecommerce website design.

The design and layout of your site is something to spend time on. Research shows that easy to navigate sites outperform sites with complicated and badly laid out sites. Making sure that your Ecommerce website design is attractive is a great step, but pays more importance to the navigation and making it as easy as possible for visitors to do what they want to do. Predict users behaviour and put the solutions right in front of them. A basic example is on a product page, having an “Add to Cart” button assumes that after viewing a product, a logical step for a user would be to purchase it and add it to the cart.

Security is of paramount importance when it comes to an Ecommerce site. Customers need to be absolutely confident when putting their credit card information into your site. Protecting against fraud is vital and the best way to do this is with an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate highly encrypts all transactions on your website ensuring that no one can see your details by illegal means. Good Ecommerce website hosting is important, you want to look for a reliable host which has minimum down time.

Ecommerce is a hugely expanding market and if your business is not already involved, Ecommerce website development is a great way to increase your revenue online.

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Monday, July 16th, 2012 by admin Uncategorized No Comments

 

Linux or Windows Hosting; which is better?

When it comes to hosting, the main question most people ask is: “Should I go for windows hosting or linux hosting?” In this post, we will explain the difference and hopefully help to inform you in your decision on which hosting server type to choose.

Let’s start with a brief introduction to servers. A server is a computer that is used for hosting websites and just like your home computer or laptop, it needs software, known as an operating system, to be able to run. You will most likely be using an operating system called Windows Vista, Windows 7 or even MacOsx on your personal computer, but when it comes to servers, there are two main options: linux hosting and windows hosting. There are advantages to both of them and we will go through those now to help you choose one over the other.

Microsoft designed its own operating systems specifically for servers, so they are different from the versions you might be familiar with on personal computers. The main advantage to using a server using Microsoft Windows operating system is that it has full integration with other Microsoft products such as Ms Access and Ms SQL. Also, if your project will be using ASP (Active Server Pages) a Windows server will be necessary. Here is a list of some of the more important features that a Windows server supports, if your project will involve one or more of these technologies, then a Windows server would be the most appropriate choice for your web server.

  • ASP Support
  • ASP.NET Support
  • Powerful SQL Server Database
  • Access Database Support
  • PHP and MySQL Compatible
  • IIS Web Server

On the other hand, servers using Linux support some different technologies and because of its large development community, has a plethora of features and tools available. Like a Windows server, it is also compatible with PHP and mysql. In addition, Linux servers in general cost less because the software is mostly free. If security is a concern, Linux servers are widely regarded as being more secure and safer by many web hosters than a Microsoft server. For more experienced administrators, a Linux server offers more control through remote shell access.

  • PHP and MySQL Support
  • Apache Web Server
  • Mod Rewrite Support
  • Chmod file permissions

The question you must ask yourself when choosing Linux or Microsoft hosting is therefore, not which is better, but “what am I doing and what does my project require”. Both server operating systems are very powerful options however depending on your project and its specific requirements, one operating system will appear a stronger choice than the other.

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Monday, July 16th, 2012 by admin Uncategorized No Comments

 

Penguin Update… Can we fix it?

Chances are that if you are reading this blog, you have seen a substantial drop in traffic to your site over the last couple of weeks. If you monitor how your site is performing on keywords in Google serps you have probably seen a significant drop there too? If that has happened then you are likely to have been a victim of the latest update to the Google algorithm, the ‘penguin update’.

Hints of what to expect of the penguin update came from Matt Cutts back in April with his mentioning a future over-optimisation penalty. This was worrying talk for anyone who had hired an SEO agency, was their investment about to come back and bite them? Well, that rather depends on who you hired…

Sites that have been hit by the penguin update tend to have a couple of things in common:

  1. Links on low quality websites that show no selectivity over which sites they link to.

    Link farms and link networks are among the sites that are now likely to be hurting the performance of your site. These links may be, but are not necessarily, paid links
  2. Excessive use of the same anchor text (normally a ‘money’ keyword) to the same page (or every page) of your website.

If you are working with an SEO agency and you have experienced significant drops in traffic then you may be starting to question their competence and/or ethics. One easy way to see where the problem lies is to analyse your site’s link profile. Are you happy with the sites that are linking to your site? How do you think they reflect on your brand?

If having looked at the sites that link to yours you feel unhappy, then chances are you are going to be looking to change SEO company. Otherwise, it may be that you are working with an ethical SEO who has been a little too repetitive with their anchor text. It is time to have a serious chat with them about what they are going to do to solve your problem because there is going to be a great deal of work ahead to get your site back on top.

Whether you have got a spammy link profile, or excessive use of anchor text, either way you have two choices to fix the problem. You are either going to have to:

  1. Remove the offending links
  2. Build lots more links to dilute the effects of your problem links

Option one is a quicker fix, if you have the ability to remove the problem links. There are a couple of problems with this strategy though. Firstly, although removing the links will stop them from hurting you, until recently it is likely that these links were actually helping you to manipulate Google results. This means that while you will be in a position to re-build, doing this is unlikely to take your site back to where it was in April. The other issue you may find is that many linking sites have now found a great new income from charging clients to take down links (often links that they paid to put up.) If you have worked with an SEO company that bought or rented spammy links, you may find getting rid of them is a costly option.

For most sites, option two is going to be their best bet. We certainly can’t offer a quick fix, or even as easy fix. Making sure that your site gets over the penguin update will take time, as will ensuring that your SEO is ‘future proof’. In the long-term though, this will ensure the ongoing stability of your site and is a very worthwhile investment.  There are already plenty of companies out there who are offering a quick fix, but that is likely to be what got you into this position so we would suggest you stay clear of any firm telling you that fixing your problem will be quick, cheap or easy.

A final question that a lot of anxious clients are asking us is whether they are safe if they haven’t already seen a drop in traffic? Without a crystal ball it is impossible for us to see into the future, but we can look at what happened with the panda updates that started a little over a year ago. The first panda update was a bit of a bombshell, hurt a lot of sites and got a lot of coverage online. Following this there was a number of further updates (which seem to be ongoing) and each time this occurred more sites dropped out of the serps. It would be fair to assume that the penguin update will be similar, so this is no time for complacency.

If you already have a problem and need help fixing it, get in touch with us today. If things look ok at the moment we are still happy to perform a review of your site and let you know how likely you are to have a problem with future revisions of the penguin update.

Monday, July 16th, 2012 by admin Uncategorized No Comments

 

Ethical Hacking

It was great to be featured in the Bdaily to get across how important it is for businesses to ensure their systems and software remain secure and prevent attacks from malicious viruses and hackers.

Follow the link below to find out more:

http://bdaily.info/news/it/15-07-2011/ethical-hacker-could-help-protect-your-business/

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Monday, July 16th, 2012 by admin Uncategorized No Comments

 

Two North-East Business Trail Blazers!

A North-East entrepreneur has won a prestigious business award with the help of technology supplied by a Tyneside based IT consultancy. Alison Taylor of Food Local Food won Best Use of Technology in the North-East Woman Entrepreneur Awards 2010. The award is in recognition of a businesswoman who has demonstrated exceptional success in using technology to create a significant competitive advantage in any business area.The showcase event was held at the Newcastle Hilton Hotel on Friday November 19 2010.

Food Local Food, head offices in Blyth, sources all their produce from North-East suppliers and work with over 100 businesses. But what has really given their company the competitive advantage is the state-of-the-art e-commerce website designed for them by Dimasoft Ltd, which operates out of Amron House in North Shields. Customers can order a range of produce on the Food Local Food website and the company will then deliver, to the door, anywhere between Berwick and Durham.

This isn't the first award clinched by Food Local Food and its MD, Alison Taylor. Recognition has also come through winning the Wansbeck Business of the Year Award in 2009; Best New Business and North East Woman Entrepreneur Awards of 2009.

The company has worked closely with Dimasoft in the design and implementation of the technology that has driven this success story. Richard Wilkinson, Managing Director of Dimasoft, explains how.

"I'm very proud of the IT solution we have provided for Food Local Food. It is without question the most ambitious website we've ever worked on, one which encompasses e-commerce but with many added, special features that essentially run their business.

"This includes managing production of purchase orders and financial reports and various other accounting functions. The website has automated invoice e-mail facilities and bespoke features such as Food Local Food's kit builds.

"Our systems control the back-end ordering; warehousing; customer shopping baskets and even the route planning for delivery drivers. The website took about 12 months to design and build and is a superb online platform for Food Local Food.

"We are now looking at introducing technology to help them manage every item of produce in their warehouse. One of the problems they face is product identification so we are now looking at developing recognition software. This will enable the company to track each and every item from one side of the warehouse to the next.

"It really is ground-breaking stuff, great to work on.

"I must say, this is an excellent award for Alison Taylor and her very hard working team.

"During the months Dimasoft has worked closely with them, we've seen first hand their effort and genuine commitment to supporting local food suppliers.

"The Best Use of Technology award is also recognition of the quality solutions Dimasoft provide our clients and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my team for their hard work."

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Monday, July 16th, 2012 by admin Uncategorized No Comments

 

Where am I?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Where am I?

The first thing most people do when they launch a new website is fire up Google, enter a relevant search term and ...... discover they are not on the first page, or the second, or the third.

Those with a lot of patience will keep trawling through the results to discover that their site is wallowing somewhere down in the 1000’s.

Why is this? I sell family cars, my website is about family cars and I entered ‘family cars’ into Google – I should be at the top of the list!

To explain this let’s travel back a few years (before the internet) and think about someone buying a family car for the first time. If they were to approach the task logically, how might they decide which car to get? Well one method might be:

  1. Make a list of the features they need. Must have four doors, a big boot, under £20,000 etc.
  2. Walk around car parks looking for cars that they like the look of.
  3. Ask a professional (a mechanic or salesman) for their recommendation.
  4. Read reviews in newspapers and magazines.
  5. Ask friends for advice.

Steps 1 and 2 are about identifying the need whereas steps 3, 4 and 5 are concerned with narrowing down the field to those vehicles which meet the need identified.

From this our prospective car buyer will probably now have a list of 5 or 10 potentially suitable family cars and can happily go off and spend their hard earned money.

Now, let’s take this a step further and apply the process to Google, what do they have to do when someone enters ‘family cars’ into their search engine?

  1. Identify web sites which mention family cars (identify the need).
  2. Narrow the field so the searcher gets relevant results.

Google calls the process narrowing the field ‘ranking’.

If we enter ‘family cars’ Google will return around 380,000,000 results. So why is whatcar.co.uk the first one returned? Why is their site so highly ranked by Google?

Well, let’s return to our family car buyer for a moment and consider steps 3, 4, and 5 above. How do they decide which reviews to read or which friends to ask?

This question of who to ask, or relevance, is key to understanding how web sites are ranked. If you have a friend who can’t drive it is unlikely you would seek their advice. You would most likely place more relevance on someone who has driven for 20 years and has a family than on someone who has only owned one sports car. I know that I’d rather listen to a friend who was a mechanic rather than a used car salesman.

So, Google needs to assess why ‘whatcar.co.uk’ is more relevant to our searcher than ‘can you transport Weiner pigs in a family car’ (which I found on page 10 of the search results).

How do they do it? Well that’s a difficult question to answer because only a handful of people in the world know, and they all work for Google. We do know that over 200 different aspects of a web page are considered when calculating its ranking score and that these change frequently.

The process of ensuring that your site ranks highly is known as ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ or SEO for short. Like a mechanic, Internet experts like Dimasoft are able to amend your website, making it Google friendly.

Like the friend who has driven for 20 years, we create links to your site. Links to your site makes Google think ‘hmmm, people think the content on this site is so good that they want to link to it, they must know what they are talking about -  so we will give it a higher score’.

SEO is not a quick fix, rather it should be viewed as a medium term strategy and given at least 6 months to deliver results, but when you consider 48% of internet searchers click somewhere on the first page results of Google it’s an investment worth considering.

And finally – the answer is yes, you can transport Weiner pigs in a family car provided you adhere to the EC Regulation on the protection of animals during transport and related operations (1/2005) – isn’t the internet wonderful!

So this highlights the importance of SEO services, click here to find the right package for you. www.dimasoft.co.uk/seo/

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Monday, July 16th, 2012 by admin Uncategorized No Comments

 

Dimasofts Latest Press Release

Over the past ten years the Internet has evolved into a potent tool, one which has revolutionised communications, information management and now, the business world.

Dimasoft Limited, based at Amron House on Borough Road in North Shields, is a website and design consultancy. Jonjo McNeill, 30, is the company’s Lead Graphic Designer and as he explains, Dimasoft is witnessing an exponential growth in demand for its e-commerce websites.

“We’ve noticed a doubling of clients over the past year with new orders coming in almost every week. E-commerce is a young industry. The trends however are clear. Investment in a good e-commerce website enables you to sell worldwide.”

According to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, e-commerce sales in the UK grew by 14% during 2009, with Internet shoppers spending £200 billion online. During August 2010 alone, UK shoppers spent around £4.4 billion over the Internet. This approximates to £72 per person. Furthermore, Econsultancy reports in its Internet Statistics Compendium that online sales in the UK during 2010 are predicted to reach £56bn.

Jonjo of Dimasoft can only see this trend continuing into 2011 and beyond. As a professional working in the field, he has some top tips for businesses thinking about investing in an e-commerce website.

“Be clear about what you need. A brochure website is very different from an e-commerce driven on-line shop. This aspect of needs analysis in fact is very important. “We spend a lot of time working with clients on this. It enables us to produce flexible, highly secure, tailor made websites that are feature rich.

“Secondly, have a budget in mind. Generally speaking you would be looking to invest from about £500 upwards on a good website.

“Thirdly, take into account the need to invest in some form of Search Engine Marketing. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a medium term strategy which helps to ensure your site can be found by potential customers; increasing online sales potential. Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) has a higher cost associated with it but can ensure that your site is visible on page one of Google from the outset. Dimasoft can provide help and advice in both of these areas.

Dimasoft offers a complete suite of web design and development services. These include: Website design; SEO; PPC advertising, site hosting; Internet connections; software development; server management; online security; e-mail and online marketing; data back-up services; e-commerce and graphic design.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved in the business,” says Jonjo. “The technology races on and I think we are still yet to fully realise the potential of the Internet.

“This is especially true for businesses. Ten years ago having a good brochure website was the expected and the norm. Now, e-commerce is coming more and more to the fore, especially as online security has been greatly improved. People are much more relaxed about buying over the Internet.

“Businesses that don’t, or aren’t able to ride the e-commerce wave may find themselves dead in the water.”

Perhaps the last word can be left to ex-US president, Bill Clinton.

“When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the World Wide Web... Now even my cat has its own page.”

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Monday, July 16th, 2012 by admin Uncategorized No Comments