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Usability plays an important role in determining the success of a website. User-centric approach is a standard practice in the arena of web designing as the user decides the effectiveness of any site. For effective web designing, the first important step that a designer needs to take is to understand how a user uses the site and determine the behavioural pattern of the same. It has been noticed that the user notices a part of the text clicks on the link and if the page fails to cater the desired information they leave the page and continues the process.usability

Understand the behaviour pattern of users

It has been noticed, that a site with high quality content but not designed well has greater volume of traffic. When it comes to the usability of the site, the content plays an important role. An important pattern that has been also observed that the users do not read a webpage rather they scan the same, they go through the parts of the contents and then clicking on the links that are embedded in the site they reach their desired destination. Based on these patterns the designing and development of a website focuses the prospective user so that their requirement, mental models and goals can be achieved easily.

Make tagline prominent

Usability of any site refers to the easy availability of the information by the users. To ensure the usability of the site, the web designers resort to few methodologies. The first one is to include a tagline that delivers the motto of the company, its mission and philosophy. According to the research, any website has to grab the attention of the user within the first eight seconds. Tagline has often proved to be effective in gluing the attention of the user to the site. While designing, you can also implement a search box in the site for the convenience of the users.

Incorporate site maps

Use of graphics attracts the attention of the users and also caters the information in an easy way, but excessive use of the same might mar the effect of the same. The thumb rule of usability is to adopt a minimalist approach. A new element of designing is the site map that makes navigating through the site easy. These are structural representation of the architecture of the webpage. Site maps are displayed in the form of a document that enlists the content of the site and also help in SEO.

Maintain the workflow

The workflow of the website needs to be consistent, if required you can also guide the users through the workflow as when filling a form. Often the JavaScript links tend to disrupt the flow so refrain from using the same in the web design process. Change of color of the link that the users have already visited is another important process, if not so then there will be a break in the navigational design. As per the eye tracking research the users scan the pages in F shape. A research also stated the couple of paragraphs that appears first are the most essential ones. Use of sun heads also tells the importance of each of these paragraphs.

Test the usability

The ease of using the site is crucial to the success of the site, and the key to the same is that users can seamlessly interact with the site. Testing the usability of the site is also important. These can be done with the help of various advanced tools that measure the effectiveness of the factors that decide the usability of the site. Accessibility, readability, navigability of the site and user experience all are taken into account in usability testing.

Josephine Bale is a web designer and she emphasizes on the usability of the site and designs the site accordingly. To know the importance of the same you can visit our business site.

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use-social-media-to-find-webhost

Before the advent of social media, most website owners primarily used search engines to find a good web hosting service. Most of web hosting providers relied on traditional search engine optimization to increase rankings and attract customers. Banner ads (which used to be the rage) also left an influence on web surfers as they were presented with relevant web hosting ads based on their web hosting search queries.

However, with the passage of time, internet users become ‘aware’ of marketing tactics that made most hosting providers appeal to them when they landed on their web pages offering the service. Review sites were born later which give a platform to those using and looking for web host providers to discuss, compare and suggest different hosting providers.

While review sites have been doing well, not a lot of people looking to host domains are aware of them. Furthermore, some web hosting providers started paying people to leave biased, positive reviews for their companies. It won’t be fair to blame them as every company tries to portray a positive image about its products and services.

While all this was going on, social media silently came in and changed the way people bought products and services online, including web hosting services. This platform continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and last year’s social media report from Nielsen reveals that more than 50% consumers directly reached out to businesses to ask product related questions, launch complaints and leave feedback.

If you’re currently searching for a good web host but don’t know how to utilize social media for the purpose, here are some tips to help you out:

1.  See if the hosting provider has active profiles

While you’ll find almost every other hosting provider with a Facebook and Twitter profile nowadays, you need to see if they’re active on those profiles as well. Hosting companies update their social media profiles less frequently due to the nature of their business. This seems completely fine and logical until your site goes down and you can’t figure out what is going on since they are not active on the social networks (which, in my opinion, should be used to help your community in times of need).

Hosting solution provider Server Pronto, on the other hand, posts multiple times a month on social media to engage with its customers. A web host provider who doesn’t have an active social media presence is squandering an opportunity to give and receive real-time feedback.

2.  See what others are saying 

Social media is a great way to find out what other people think of hosting providers. A good web host will have more positive comments. There will be negative comments as well, but you need to keep in mind that there are loopholes in every kind of business, so don’t be surprised if you find a few people unsatisfied.

You can engage with others, reply to them and ask questions directly on social media to find out their personal experiences before making a decision.

3.  Compare the list of services

Use social media to compare the list of services provided by different web hosts. Look for someone who offers cloud computing and content delivery network rather than only a basic server or VPS. Cloud computing ensures that your website stays up even when a particular data center of the web host goes down. It also ensures that your files can be backed up from remote locations in case of server issues.

You may not be aware that social media networks themselves heavily rely on cloud computing. When you post photos on Facebook, Flicker etc., they’re stored in the cloud. This is why you’re able to access them wherever you want from any remote location in the world with an active network in range.

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cloud storage

As cloud computing and storage rolled out for thousands of business owners and web services, there have been an incredible amount of myths floating around on the internet. These myths must be debunked so that those who are new to this technology are not wrapped up in a state of confusion.

Most cloud technology is not only simple to use, but it is much more common than you may think it is. By the end of this post, you will be able to see not only just how secure it is, but just how popular it has become as of recently. Cloud storage and computing has yet to evolve to its full potential; but it is already winning over some big names.

Myth: It Is Easy To Tell When One Is Using the Cloud

The truth is many sites and businesses are using the cloud for different purposes. You may not know it, but many of the websites that you or your business uses are currently using cloud technology. This includes social sites such as Facebook, or web services such as online bill payment processors.

If you use file sharing websites to share documents between the business and employees, you are using cloud technology then as well. Cloud storage covers nearly any form of storage that takes place online; this way, you can access the information at any time with an internet connection.

Myth: Cloud Service Providers Are Worry Free

This myth could not be further from the truth, because these service providers have a lot to worry about. Their biggest concern is the security of your business’ sensitive information. Since they wish for businesses and individuals to trust their security, they most definitely do not want the data to be compromised in any way. Trend Micro’s solutions for virtualization security enable you to allow your business to go digital, without having to worry about someone or something getting to your stored data. Reputable cloud storage or computing providers offer state of the art security measures, so that they can keep hackers and intruders far away from the stored files or operating systems.

Myth: The Cloud Is Too Expensive For Most Businesses

Cloud storage and computing allow your business to utilize shared servers, rather than having to invest in a private server or virtual private server. This means that cloud storage cuts the costs of storing and transferring data; especially since you do not have to invest in the physical storage.

However, if you have a lot of data to store or share, you may need to go with a VPN for the plentiful storage space. VPNs can also host cloud storage as well. Since the purpose of a cloud is to access information from different devices or access points, it is actually a very versatile method of storage. Even so, activating cloud storage is still incredibly cheap on a local level. The type of cloud storage you will need will depend upon the size of the business and its storage needs, so be sure to evaluate and predict your current and future needs to find the cloud storage or computing option that is best for your business.

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Internet marketing experts make mistakes promoting their websites because of inexperience, ineptitude or plain greediness. Here is a list of a few things that you should not do if you want to succeed at Internet marketing. The list is inter-spliced with things that you should do when you are Internet marketing. If you are currently running a comprehensive and full Internet campaign then there is a good chance that you are doing these things already; if this is the case then allow this article to reassure you that you are doing the right thing.

Do take a little time to research

Do take a little time every week to research new marketing techniques and keep abreast of current online marketing news. Take an hour every Saturday to read through a few blog posts, a few newsreels and a few online articles. You do not need to read them fully, all you need to do is skim read the text until you find snippets of information that may be relevant to your online marketing campaign. The affects of this are not always apparent, but you will find that the information you absorb will become relevant at later dates when you are trying to come up with further ideas for your marketing campaign.

Don’t install auto-start videos on your website

Nobody watches the adverts that auto start on websites. They simply close the tab, the browser window, or click back. There is absolutely no incentive to watch the adverts, and people will avoid them like rabid dogs.
internet marketing

Do use affiliate marketing to test market your website

You create an advert that is shown across the affiliate-advertising network. You determine how much you are willing to pay for clicks and if people click on your adverts they you have to pay up. Use these affiliate programs to run small test marketing campaigns. You can refine your choice of keywords and the adverts you place online. Run very small but very cheap campaigns and test see how many clicks you get. If you are getting lots of clicks then you know you are on the right track with your advert and choice of keywords. The only thing you then have to do is optimize your landing page so that viewers convert into buyers.

Don’t force a user

Don’t force a user to do any form of action prior to them seeing your website. This includes forcing them to watch an advert first, or forcing them to sign into Facebook and click “Like” first, or creating a pop-up that asks them to sign  up to a newsletter first. Do not make getting to your websites content any more difficult than it already is. For that matter–you should also make sure that your website renders very quickly, and that it loads up and completes very quickly, as slow rendering and loading will deter a great many online viewers.

Do employ writers to create quality articles about your products and services

This takes all of the hard work out of content creation. It just leaves you with the slightly-less difficult task of finding the right place to put your new content. Consider the articles you buy as if they are bullets. The more bullets you have then the more likely you are to hit your target.

Don’t make your adverts all offer and no substance

Don’t forget the rules of marketing–it is your job to make an offer that the consumer can accept. Do not mistake the word “Offer” for “Special offer”, “Discount” or “Sale offer.” Think of the word “Offer” in its legal terms, in that you are supposed to have something to trade with your consumer. Do not fill your adverts full of discounts and marketing gimmicks; do not sell the sizzle without showing a little bit of steak (to adjust the old phrase). If you suspect that your marketing has become more about marketing gimmicks then go back to basics. Try to recall your products unique selling points (USPs) and mention a few of them in your marketing campaign.

Do use interesting, strange and scary images on your link adverts

Having links that are made up of images is not the best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) method for helping you to rank up your website because the link does not have anchor text. However, you should remember that even without anchor text–the link still has some SEO value. Moreover, you can add a title and ALT text to the image if you wish. Links that are made up of pictures that are weird, sexy or scary are going to attract the attention of inquisitive users. You can always add a link with anchor text underneath if you like.

Don’t use a reputation management team

There are very few legitimate reputation management teams out there, and the chances of you coming across a phony one are quite high. As soon as they have your web address, the phony reputation management company will start smearing your website across the Internet. They will then show you the results of their smear campaign as proof that your online reputation is terrible. You pay for their services and they remove the negative press that their third party friends wrote, and come back to you to show you what a good job they did. It is not worth the risk of even contacting a reputation management company. Manage your own online reputation by going out of your way to put your consumers first.

Do use a traditional offline consultancy

Do use a traditional offline consultancy, comprised of staff that visit your business and whom you meet physically before buying their services. Consultancy firms that you find on the high street (preferably ltd companies) are still very useful for Internet marketing. They often have a professional or two who has years of Internet marketing experience. If you give them a very specific online issue or problem then they will often come up with ideas that you may not have thought of. They will also help you to implement their ideas to be sure you get the highest possible return on your investment. Once again–it has to be an established real-world consultancy where you physically meet the consultant you hire.

Don’t use the Internet marketing firm

Relating to the point made above; do not use the Internet marketing or online consultancy firm. Anybody on earth can set up an online consultancy firm, and that is why there are millions of them out there. People in Egypt can set up consultancy firms on Miami servers and have all of their addresses based in Canada. There is no way of checking on the legitimacy of your online consultancy/marketing firm, which means you cannot risk hiring them. If you do hire an online marketing/consultancy firm then the best-case scenario is that they do nothing. Otherwise, they may start trying to promote your business in their unprofessional and unqualified manner and do irreparable damage to your websites online reputation and search engine ranking.

Do create a varied Internet marketing campaign

Do create a varied Internet marketing campaign that is made up of paid and unpaid means of communication. Try not to stick to one method of promotion, as it is a very old fashioned and limiting marketing method. Use both paid and unpaid means of marketing, such as advertising over affiliate networks as well as starting online chats with groups of people on social media sites.

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The recent proliferation of smartphones and rising popularity of social media have sparked a revolution in the marketing world. QR codes, which can store more data and be more easily scanned than traditional UPC barcodes, are one of the most exciting new innovations to take hold in the industry. Here are ten of the most creative uses of QR coding to have emerged in recent years.

Monmouthpedia

Monmouth, Wales is a QR coded town. To promote tourism, they created over 1000 plaques, stickers, and labels on everything from buildings to businesses to monuments. Each links to a Wikipedia article, 500 of which the town created for the purpose.

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Guinness Pint

This unique QR code only appears when the pint glass is filled with thick stout. It links to social media sites like Foursquare and Facebook so beer swillers can tell friends what pub to find them in.

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QR Condoms

Planned Parenthood in Washington, USA has put QR codes on thousands of free condoms. Users promote safe sex and contribute to research data by anonymously reporting where they get it on.

Korean QR Grocery Shopping

In a brilliant sales strategy, Tesco Lotus in Korea has lined subway stops with digital grocery shelves. Shoppers simply take a photo of the QR codes beneath the items they want, and the groceries soon arrive in the mail.

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The World Park Game

On Arbor Day 2010, Central Park in NYC became a QR encoded board game for smartphone-wielding nature lovers. The codes link to interactive questions and give directions to the next stop.

Greeting Card Playlists

The mixtape has been given a facelift. These stylized QR codes become birthday or Valentines Day cards, which link to Spotify playlists created by the sender.

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Pop-Up Stores

This innovative idea creates physical shop fronts without inventory. Shoppers choose the items they want from the 2D shelves in a similar fashion to the subway Tesco experience.

QR Codes Give Art a Voice

The Sukiennice Museum in Poland now has QR codes that link to videos where the artist says a few words about the ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ context for his/her work.

Talking Gift Tags

JC Penny has done away with the traditional To:/From: gift tags. Now a QR code enables gift recipients to hear a short personal message from the giver.

‘Remembrance Codes’

QR codes on tombstones? It could soon be a commonplace practice. Instead of limiting headstone info to name, date, and a short quote, QR codes could allow tombstones to provide detailed histories and descriptions of the departed – even video or voice recording.

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Technology is transforming the way we interact with information and physical objects in our everyday lives. More and more, it seems our world is evolving and being shaped to mirror the types of data systems that define the Internet. Just as images and text can link us to new info on the web, QR codes now allow us embed links in beer pints, condoms, and even whole towns.

 

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hacker

Serious hacking threats/attempts that cause the government and private companies millions of dollars are routinely in the news these days. What is not reported, however, is the fact that millions of individual computers around the globe face these threats on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are practical tools that you can use to protect your computer from these threats. Below is a list of the top five tools you can use to keep hackers at bay.

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The online shopping landscape has been heavily developed the past several years. This means that to own and operate a successful online store, it must be continually improved. It needs to be simple, convenient and up-to-date to stay anywhere near relevant.

Even if you offer an incredibly useful product, shoppers will immediately leave your site if they see an online store that looks like it was created a decade ago in Geocities. Beyond improving the store’s design, you need to promote your overall presence so that shoppers know you exist. Below are some of the best ways to improve your online store.

Promote Your Presence and Create Confidence

Lyndon Cerejo, a writer for Smashing Magazine, a publication devoted to technology and ecommerce, states that creating a strong online presence is crucial to the success of any online store. After all, how will people buy your product if they do not know it is being sold? Cerejo suggests the best way to promote your presence is to go where the customers are online.

These days, that means social media. There are a variety of social media sites as well as social networks that have gained prevalence in the online world; you must ensure that your business has a strong presence on all of them. You never know whom your product will intrigue; intrigued people are often promoting whatever tickles their fancy on their social sites, giving your business some word-of-mouth. And everyone knows that word-of-mouth is some of the best advertising possible.

Cerejo advises that you do everything you can to create confidence once the prospective shopper has found your online store. Below are a number of ways to instill confidence in future customers:

  • Have an aesthetically pleasing and functional online store. This tells your customer that you are a legitimate business.
  • Install a SSL certificate. This secures your store and will place a locked icon in the address bar that signifies that any information they provide you with will be safely delivered to you, and only you.
  • Create an easy-to-use registration and membership system and do not ask for any more information than you require. The longer the registration process, the more people will be put-off by it.

Enhance Product Descriptions

Product descriptions are where the metaphorical magic happens. It’s within these areas that the product is sold. You’ve brought the shopper to your site and instilled confidence, now seal the deal. Product descriptions should not be lengthy essays about the product or a meaningless list of statistics. It should be three or four concise sentences that encourage them to make a purchase.

James Chartrand, a professional blogger and professor at Solo Practice University in Quebec, states that a rousing story that evokes emotion and physical sensations is a highly effective product description. Instead of merely saying

“this product smells like coconut,” try something like “after using this product you will be whisked away to a coconut-scented beach!”

Have an Obvious Path to a Single Checkout Page

The purpose of your online store is to drive the prospective shopper to make a purchase. Invest as much money and time as you can into making this process as streamlined and efficient as possible. Once they click “Buy,” take them to a single secured page that will ask for all the information you require to process and ship their order. The more pages shoppers have to go through to make their purchase, the more likely they are to leave the site altogether.

Invest in a program that will automatically generate shipping labels in the administrative end of the checkout process. There are several programs available that will allow you to print shipping labels and postage online. This greatly streamlines your shipping process, which allows your product to reach the customer faster and gives you a leg up on the competition.

Your Store Will Be Successful

You can ensure success by using the above ways to improve your online store. It is well worth the investment to hire a professional if you do not have the technical skills to implement all of these improvements.

Creating a streamlined checkout and shipping process is perhaps the most important aspect of your online store. Invest in programs that will allow you to effortlessly print shipping labels, postage and ship the product as soon as possible. Your online store can be a success with time, dedication and patience.

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Recently, the City of Los Angeles opted to changeover all of their desktop productivity software to a cloud-based solution that featured storage in a vendor-owned data center. The primary drivers behind the change were portability of access and lowered IT costs. Additionally, it was found that data center security for data stored would be at least as effective as the system that was currently in place.

data-center

For businesses considering data center storage, it is useful to note that Los Angeles changed over all of their departments, including the police and the legal people that work for them. They had that much confidence in the data center solution, and seem to be benefiting from such a service

So how do the advantages that data center solutions provide apply to your firm?

First of all, having a data center solution as an option shifts the paradigm away from an IT system that is built and administered the way it is due to security concerns. The number one reason companies continue to keep mission-critical software and infrastructure in-house has to do with potential loss of proprietary data. Because most world class data center companies like Digital Realty have proven for large and small customers that their security is even better than most companies can provide for themselves, the new paradigm for businesses becomes one of cost.

Is it more cost effective to utilize hardware and software in-house to serve up a private cloud or an application environment? The answer is ‘it depends’. Certainly there have been very few companies that have opted to shift all of their data and applications to a data center environment. Then again, as your company shifts more of its development time to providing web service applications or web-based applications to employees and clients, data centers are often a much better choice for implementation than leaving the data in-house. The question is more frequently becoming, which data center partner would provide us with the best solution.

Looking for a partner that views your business as being a business partnership instead of just a hosting agreement is a step in the right direction. One of the largest providers of defacto hosting service to small businesses in the United States recently added a consulting wing to add revenue. Customers that cater to the same market have started complaining about being targeted for their clients. This large provider also provides data center hosting, but from the feedback coming from clients that have customers that might use it, they are not going to get any recommendations.

Another criteria is global reach. Looking for a partner that has a geographic footprint that can mirror your company’s growth is important

Finally, most data center partners promise fantastic uptime percentages. Looking under the hood at what the actual experience of the organization is in terms of planning, building, and operating data centers is a good way to validate their claims.

When it comes to providing your business with the best operational technologies available, there is no reason to stick to the same ol’ same ol’ or skimp on a few dollars.  You get what you pay for, and by choosing to integrate data center services into your own business, you can not only save on IT and other related expenses, but you will also be able to provide greater connectivity and operations to your business – allowing you to save money and achieve larger profits over the long haul.