Articles for June 2011

Static vs Dynamic Websites

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
June 27th, 2011

What is a static website? What is a dynamic website? 
What kind of website do I need?

A static website is one that seldom or never changes.  This means that once the site is designed and uploaded to a location on the Internet it is considered complete and not updated very often (other than annual or semi-annual maintenance). A viewer sees the exact same thing every time they go to the website.

While this may sound boring, static websites can be made more interesting through the use of slide shows, email forms, rollover buttons and programming such as Javascripts. Think of a static website as an online brochure.

A dynamic website's content is regenerated every time a user visits or reloads the site. The owner, viewer or automated programming can change the content constantly. This is done through the use of one or several databases located on the website hosting server.

Database driven websites are used for interactive websites such as online sales, blogs/message boards and sites that contain large amounts of information.  The data (or content) of a webpage is stored in the database and is retrieved when the viewer clicks on a specially programmed button or link.

An example of dynamic information is shown below. While this example is rather simple, dynamic sites can be very sophisticated and provide viewers with tremendous amounts of information with just a few mouse clicks.

There are many static websites on the Internet, you won’t be able to tell immediately if it is static, but the chances are, if the site looks basic and is for a smaller company, and simply delivers information without any bells and whistles, it could be a static website. Static websites can only really be updated by someone with a knowledge of website development. Static websites are the cheapest to develop and host, and many smaller companies still use these to get a web presence.

Advantages of static websites

  • Quick to develop
  • Cheap to develop
  • Cheap to host

Disadvantages of static websites

  • Requires web development expertise to update site
  • Site not as useful for the user
  • Content can get stagnant

Dynamic sites on the other hand can be more expensive to develop initially, but the advantages are numerous. At a basic level, a dynamic website can give the website owner the ability to simply update and add new content to the site. For example, news and events could be posted to the site through a simple browser interface. Dynamic features of a site are only limited by imagination. Some examples of dynamic website features could be: content management system, e-commerce system, bulletin / discussion boards, intranet or extranet facilities, ability for clients or users to upload documents, ability for administrators or users to create content or add information to a site (dynamic publishing).

Advantages of dynamic websites

  • Much more functional website
  • Much easier to update
  • New content brings people back to the site and helps in the search engines
  • Can work as a system to allow staff or users to collaborate

Disadvantages of dynamic websites

  • Slower / more expensive to develop
  • Hosting costs a little more

Summary

Many sites from the last decade are static, but more and more people are realising the advantages of having a dynamic website. Dynamic websites can make the most of your site and either use it as a tool or create a professional, interesting experience for your visitors.

This article aimed to tackle some of the questions faced by website owners. 

If your business needs help with any of these needs please contact us today. Ventura County Now is a co-op of local businesses: web design, video production, photography, seo, programming, and marketing. Our services are designed to fit any business owners budget. We take the guess work out of the web and are here to build for you.

Give us a call today 855-826-2999.

Why E-Commerce is Important For Small Business

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
June 20th, 2011

For the sake of the economy and the individuals involved, huge numbers of new small businesses are forming in hopes of making a positive impact to the community. In order to make that positive impact, you need to make sure that your small business is up-to-date and following the latest trends. When it comes to small businesses, current trends refer directly to e-commerce. Here are four major reasons why implementing e-commerce should be one of the top priorities in building any small business.

Internet is so Mainstream these Days

Just about every household in the US has at least a computer, laptop, or mobile device that can access the Internet and people worldwide are getting into it as well. With the introduction to social networking sites and online shopping, the Internet became a part of their daily lives conveniently getting work done.

Most Modern Businesses are Doing It

As a result of all the popularity the Internet has cultivated, it is a no-brainer for existing small businesses to jump on the electronic bandwagon and start doing transactions online. Most modern businesses do it primarily for convenience and also for security.

You need to get into it as well, not only because they are doing it, but also to stay competitive with any other small businesses offering similar products and services. E-commerce competition involves the innovative use of website design and creative development to give customers and visitors a seamless experience. It also adds brand awareness exposing your site to people that most frequently go online.

Reduces Workload

Ever since computers were introduced, processing of data has become faster and more accurate than ever before. Now E-commerce helps connect businesses and consumers closer than ever before. A lot of the tedious tasks such as calling for transactions and utilising e-mail are reduced here because the e-commerce systems handle the processing for you. The only work that is required is actually getting the e-commerce site up. This process is only done once so there is a lot of relief after the e-commerce site is finished. After that, it is all about getting the right people to use the system which should be easy and maintaining it to ensure the entire business is functional.

Necessary Step in Making the Small Business Grow Further

Once you already have an e-commerce site, the only direction you can go from here is upward. You will find more transactions to be done because of the ease in getting things done online and that very success can motivate you or any webmaster to improve the e-commerce experience and fill in any weaknesses discovered. Small businesses can grow into larger businesses in the same way as e-commerce sites becoming much larger and more feature rich.

E-commerce sites are an absolute necessity for any small business no matter what is being dealt. After efforts in marketing the e-commerce site, profits are sure to be made and further development can be planned from there. As long as there is maintenance involved, the e-commerce site should help the small business in every possible way.

If your business needs help with any of these needs please contact us today. Ventura County Now is a co-op of local businesses: web design, video production, photography, seo, programming, and marketing. Our services are designed to fit any business owners budget. We take the guess work out of the web and are here to build for you.

Give us a call today 855-826-2999.

Convert Boring Old Websites to one's that are Exciting and New

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
June 13th, 2011

Just about every web user has experienced landing on a website that just looks old.  Normally a quick scroll to the bottom of the page confirms the site copyright is from 2007 or worse.  To today’s web surfer, this two to three year old site may as well be a hundred years old.

If you were having guests for dinner, would you serve them two year-old leftovers.  Obviously not.  Why then are so many websites serving up two year-old content?  Two of the biggest reasons are:  First, it used to be enough just to have a website and a static site was fine.  Second, adding content was difficult and could be expensive.

Content Management Systems to the Rescue
Because of the rapid increase in social media applications such as blogging and sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace, website visitors expect something more than three year old content.  They expect to see fresh relevant content, to be able to create content and form communities.

Six Ways to improve your Website

  1. Add a blog.  Blogs are one of the easiest ways to generate new, relevant content and establish the website owners expertise.  Furthermore, comments provide interactivity.
  2. Convert the current static design into a Content Management System (CMS).  Converting to a CMS will make adding new content as easy as writing an email.
  3. Web users today want to build communities and collaborate with other users.
  4. Add Twitter and Facebook feeds. Social media is here to stay and is a great business tool. As was the case with websites several years ago, customers are beginning to expect that your web presence extend beyond your website. Twitter and Facebook are great ways to interact with your current and future customers.
  5. Add a shopping cart. If you sell products that could be ordered online, but don’t offer this service, expect to see reduced revenue. Add a shopping cart and allow your customers to buy your products at exactly when they want too.
  6. Add relevant content feeds from other sources. The web is now a huge content generating machine. So you don’t have to create all the content. Find reputable experts in your industry and feature their blog postings on your site.

If your business needs help with any of these needs please contact us today. Ventura County Now is a co-op of local businesses: web design, video production, photography, seo, programming, and marketing. Our services are designed to fit any business owners budget. We take the guess work out of the web and are here to build for you.

Give us a call today 855-826-2999.

3 Reasons why Twitter is important for business

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
June 6th, 2011

Twitter is used by millions of people each day who share, connect, promote and brand their business image. If you, like them are still not convinced, here are 3 reasons why Twitter is important for your business. 

Connect
Imagine having a captive audience waiting for your information every minute of the day. By positioning yourself as an industry expert, you can grow a small community of followers who will have a direct connection to you and who recognize your name and business brand! You can also barter, search for independent contractors or find employees. Twitter provides a great platform to connect with the right people to fit your business needs. 

In addition, this is great way for existing customers to provide feedback. 

By connecting with similar companies will enable the sharing of idea, best practices and opportunity to gain insight on improving your business. 

Market
Most small businesses have a very small marketing budget which results in continuously looking for low cost and innovative ways to leverage their products or services. Twitter is a free social network that can be a rewarding marketing tool for your business. A few examples: 

  • Your message will appear across the Twitter board over and over by your followers who will retweet your message to their followers. Can we say ‘viral?’
  • Stay abreast of industry trends to market effectively to potential customers.
  • Publish your Twitter handle on all email newsletters, direct mailings, on your Web site and all other marketing channels.
  • Promote your latest blog posts and newsletters

Still having doubts? Well, let’s say you manage an online specialty athletic shop. You can:

Sales
Increasing your sales and profit margins are imperative for success and a matter of survival. By using twitter to announce upcoming sales or events, you will drive potential customers to your website or physical location. For example, I assisted a client who owns a Mexican Restaurant, with setting up her Twitter and Face book Fan page. Every day, she posts daily lunch specials. Last year, she reported a 9% increase in sales from travelers who used social media to find a local restaurant. 

The point is, with little effort and signing up for Twitter’s free social network, you can drive prospects to you by sharing relevant information about your business. 

YouTube: Two Days’ Worth of Video Uploaded Every Minute

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
June 1st, 2011

More than 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

The video-sharing site reports a 37% increase in video uploaded per minute in the past six months and a 100% increase from last year. This is likely due in no small part to increased upload timesand the recent expansion of YouTube’s live streaming platform.

YouTube also passed 3 billion views in one day — a 50% increase compared to last year — over this past weekend.

YouTube announced these stats in a blog post Wednesday celebrating its sixth birthday (apparently a belated birthday, as most people consider it to have been born in February). We’re interested to see what these stats look like on YouTube’s seventh birthday, with the addition of the site’s expanded movie rental service and more sophisticated partner programs.

When a business creates a new professional video they almost put themselves in a new type of bucket from the standpoint of their audience. Branding increase and credibility is often times instilled into your website visitors. Online video marketing is a young approach but reaps many benefits if approached correctly. Take the time to figure out exactly how to incorporate a little bit of video into your business model.

If your business needs help with any of these needs please contact us today. Ventura County Now is a co-op of local businesses: web design, video production, photography, seo, programming, and marketing. Our services are designed to fit any business owners budget. We take the guess work out of the web and are here to build for you.

Give us a call today 855-826-2999.