Archive for March, 2014

Signs That Your Website Needs a Redesign

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Redesigning a website is not a matter that should be taken lightly. Mainly because a website will decide your audience’s first impression of your identity, whether you’re an individual or a business. If you choose the wrong design, it could cost you a great deal in terms of reputation. Additionally, redesigning a website takes time, effort, and maybe even money – so you can’t switch back and forth between different designs at the drop of a hat. However, there are signs that you need to look out for because they indicate a need for a site redesign, regardless of the risk. These signs include:

You’re Not Getting Any Results

You could have the best looking site in the world. It’s very intuitive, looks sleek, and has killer content. But if the visitors aren’t coming or you’re getting a high bounce rate, then maybe it’s time to reassess your approach. This is not to say that poor results automatically require a redesign, but you should take it into account when you go back to the drawing board, since the site’s aesthetics and the user experience it provides can play a huge role.

Your Site’s Purpose Has Changed

It’s normal for a website’s purpose to change, especially if it’s serving mostly as a marketing and branding tool for a business. Even in cases where the website is the business itself, its purpose can still change depending on the goal and strategy being used. There’s no need for a complete overhaul every time the purpose changes, but it’s a smart move to regularly check if the website design is still aligned with its goals.

You’ve Learned How to Improve Your Strategy

Even if your site is already working well and bringing in lots of satisfied users, it’s still normal to learn new things along the way or discover new advancements in the industry. Sometimes the benefits aren’t worth the hassle of a redesign, but it adds up eventually until you’re stuck with choosing between adapting via a redesign or being left behind by your competitors. (more…)

Skills Developers Should Invest In

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The speed in which technology, particularly IT, advances these days is a bit of a double-edged sword for developers. On the one hand, it means that opportunities will be in abundance and they will never have any problems with regard to demand for their expertise.

On the other hand, there is pressure to continue progressing and adapting to new advancements as they come along, because choosing to remain stagnant in the face of rapid progress is a surefire way to get left behind by the competition.

While majority of developers choose to obsess over which new programming language to master or which technology to focus on, their time and effort is better invested in learning (or improving) a number of skills that a developer and programmer should have, such as:

Problem Solving Skills

Programming languages will come and go, and while mastery in one can help you in learning another, the real skillset that a developer can carry from one environment into the other is his ability to solve problems. After all, software has always been designed to solve one form of user problem or another, and software development is primarily about solving problems, not learning programming languages. This is not to say that mastering a programming language isn’t important. It is, but it comes second to learning how to apply critical thinking to solving problems.

Improving your problem-solving skills requires an entire article on its own, but basically, don’t be content with cookie cutter or template solutions. From time to time, review problems that you have already solved and try to come up with new solutions or at least, read up and research on a lot of theories, see how other developers solve problems and understand their approach instead of just copying their methods.

Self-Teaching Skills

The ability to learn on your own is one of the most important and useful skills in life. For developers, it’s common knowledge that all of your years in schools and universities will only teach you theories at best, and that application in the real world will still require the ability to study and learn on your own. In fact, there are many successful programmers who started out as self-taught coders.

If you learn how to teach yourself, you’ll be removing all the limitations that are preventing you from progressing in your chosen career. There are books and various resources available for everything – all you need is yourself and enough time to learn on your own.

Naming Skills

The previous skills outlined above can be considered common sense. The ability to name things, on the other hand, is frequently overlooked. After all, we’re software developers, not archeologists or fiction writers. What do we need naming skills for?

The thing is everytime you write code, you are effectively naming things. Your success in reading code that you or someone else has written will hinge on your understanding of the code based on the names of things in said code. Being able to explain your methods and logic in the names you use in your code will put you ahead of developers who just churn out codes that “just work” but can’t remember how they did it nor explain it to a co-worker.

Last, But Definitely Not the Least: People Skills

Unless you’re only developing software on your own and intending your output to be private, you’re going to have to deal with other people. In order to really succeed in life as a software developer, you have to learn some people skills. Technical aptitude is no longer enough, especially these days when projects become so complex that they require an entire team of developers working closely – and efficiently – together.

No matter how good you are as a programmer, if you’re constantly getting into arguments with your team or even if you’re nice but can’t communicate your thoughts well, you’re going to be the weakest link.

So take time out and socialize, learn how to work with other people and keep your ego in check. Make friends and learn how to approach and communicate with different kinds of people. We’re not saying you have to be the most likable person on the planet, but you need to be the kind of person that people can easily approach and talk to, especially when it comes to difficult work-related problems.

Do’s and Don’ts of Securing a Domain Name

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

One of the most important things you need to do if you are ever serious about starting a website is get your own domain name. Having your own domain name is not only good in establishing your website’s identity and credibility, it also gives you a lot of freedom and minimizes the risk of losing your audience if you ever need to move to a different host.

However, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind when choosing a domain name. Remember that you’ll be stuck with it for a long time, so you have to make sure you pick the one that is perfect for your website. A mistake during the choosing stage can be costly or even irreparable after a year or so. If you want to avoid this scenario, you should consider the following DOs and DONTs of securing a domain name:

Do: Incorporate a Location or a Keyword in Your Domain Name

There are a number of good reasons why you should incorporate a location or a keyword in your domain name. First is that there is a big chance that the domain name you had in mind is already taken. Instead of choosing a different name, you can instead use a location or a keyword to differentiate yourself from the others. Additionally, it will help you attract traffic from people who are specifically looking for businesses based on location. (more…)

Survive a Cyber Security Threat

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

The main problem with cyber security these days is that all the advancements in cyber security that we’ve had is also available to the cyber criminals. Coupled with the fact that there’s even more financial motivation, many individuals have started treating cyber crime as a business. It’s no longer the stereotypical teenager typing away at his mother’s basement – cyber criminals these days wear suits, employ other skilled professionals, and go on meetings with his conspirators. It has become a very profitable business, which means you can no longer rely on sheer luck to protect yourself.

If you’re not taking active steps to bolster your cyber security, it may end up turning into a very costly mistake. It also means that cyber attacks are more of an eventuality than a risk, so you need to learn what to do in order to survive a cyber security threat WHEN (not if) it comes. Here are some things you should remember:

Click here to find out the advance security features of Prestige Technologies.

Don’t Depend on Third Party Companies for Protection

Technically, a web hosting provider has it in their best interests to protect the security of their customers, and they do provide protection on their end. But to depend on it as your sole protection against cyber security threats is naiveté of the highest order. The sheer number of customers that web hosting providers, coupled with the low monthly hosting fees that they charge means that they won’t be able to provide a level of protection comparable to, say, an in-house team that’s assembled solely for the purpose. Additionally, many cyber security threats are targeted more towards the user than the web host. (more…)

Finding an Untapped Niche

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

When it comes to making money over the Internet, the secret is that you can’t just throw everything at the wall and waiting until something sticks. That method will take too long and will drain too many resources. The most effective way is to find a niche that you can sell into.

Niche markets are very effective because your strategy will be very targeted and competition will be minimal at times. Additionally, a niche market is the ideal balance between a marketer trying to sell something and prospective customers who are looking for something specific to buy – it’s basically seller and buyer meeting halfway.

For far too long, marketers have been trying to market to a general audience, resulting in wasted opportunities and resources. All because they didn’t take the time to find an untapped niche. The truth is that niche markets exist in just about every industry, and in order to maximize your success rate, you need to find untapped ones, but how do you do it?

1. Keep Your Ears Close to the Ground

Many untapped niche markets usually start out as fads or trends, but they don’t magically appear out of thin air. They’re usually coming from something else that got people’s attention and piqued their curiosity. You have to really pay attention to the things that are happening around you, and to current events.

The news is one great way to keep an eye on things, as is pop culture. This is particularly true if you are planning to enter the market via products that are related to pop culture or current affairs. For example, when the local news did a story about using sounds in certain frequencies to affect mood – the niche market for binaural mood enhancers came into being. Be mindful of what people are currently interested in, and see if there’s a product related to that. This works especially well for new problems or concerns, as you can just create or find a product that will address said problems. (more…)

Mistakes Business Owners Make When Setting Up Their Website

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

A couple of decades ago, businesses only wanted websites for vanity purposes, mainly because the Internet wasn’t as widely used and building a presence online didn’t really have much of an effect on their operations. Fast-forward to today and you’ll see that having a website is almost always a necessity. Businesses find themselves missing out on opportunities for branding and marketing straight to their customers all over the globe for a fraction of the costs of an extensive marketing campaign in other platforms and media.

However, too many businesses fail to maximize the benefits of a website because they commit one of several big mistakes when they first set up their websites or in really unlucky cases, commit all of said mistakes, leading to an online presence that is not only failing to provide any benefits to the business, but is actually turning out to be detrimental. If you want to make sure that you have not committed these mistakes or want to avoid committing it in the feature, you should take a look at the following list of mistakes business owners make when setting up their website:

1. They Don’t Have a Top Level Domain Name

Many businesses fail to realize that free hosting services and the sub-domains they come with only have one benefit: it’s free. But that single benefit is negated by all the cons that come with a sub-domain, some of which include:

A. Your website loses credibility – people, and search engines themselves, don’t put a lot of weight on sub-domains. It reeks of amateurishness, and it shows that the owner doesn’t care enough about the site and what it represents to even bother investing on their own domain name. A multinational company that is still using a free subdomain URL will almost always get beat by a basement blogger who had the smarts to build an online presence around a top level domain name. (more…)