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Whats your Function Junction | Web Design Greenville, SC

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

So is it okay to have a web site that may look great but does not work?

Well, my answer as a designer and developer would actually surprise most people. YES, it is okay to have a great design with no function, but for your client it is probably a big fat NO. Your web site should not only look amazing and be original; it should also function correctly and perform call to action to get your clients their desired results. There are great deal of developers out in the web community that are not designers and vice-a-versa.

We recently, had a client decide to use another web development company and the design of the site is nice. Unfortunately for our client the web development company was not experienced with shopping carts, so even though they have a nice looking site. The clients customers can no longer order online and the site basically no longer works. So what should you do if you experience this issue.

Ask questions, Ask questions, Ask questions, and educate yourself for the benefit of your company and its web site. Now, I am sure you are wondering what questions to ask? Well, here is a small list of questions that should help inform you if the company that you are about to work with is capable of performing not only the design but also the functions to your web site.

Questions to Ask:

Question: How long have you been developing web site?
Answer: If the answer with 1 year or we are just starting out, this can be a potential red flag if you are looking for a web site to do specific actions that may be complicated.

Question: Who is your developer/programmer?
Answer: We outsource our development to India, or  we know a guy. RUN, the reason is very simple. The person you are talking to most likely has no knowledge of the programming for a website and if this person is your point of contact then transferring your idea to them and then to someone else and so on. Well, you get the idea, your function will get lost in translation both literally and figuratively.

Question: What programming language do you use?
Answer: The answer should be immediate and they should be able to show you examples. If not then this is another red flag.

Question: Do you comment all of your code?
Answer: If they say no, or unfamiliar with what comment your code means then you need to find the nearest exit and leave the building. Commenting code is a practice that all developers should do when coding a web site. It is basically cliff notes to each section of code on the web site. The reason this is important is because the comments will assist another web developer if the site has to be moved or another web developer has to take over the project.

Question: We would like a self contained web site that we manage ourselves (CMS), can you develop something like that?
Answer: Once again the answer should be yes. But they should start out by evaluating your project and seeing if you would be better served with having an out of the box solution; such as, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or DNN. The reason being that if they develop something that only they understand then you are stuck with them and can never move your site. Having a foundation in one of frameworks mentioned before will make your site easier to move and most of these frameworks have a large selection of plugins to quickly add function to your web site. Now, there are some cases where custom programming is warranted and is very necessary, but remember if the programmer comments there code and also the web company agrees the coding belongs to you then there is no problem. Custom programming can be very beneficial in the development of your web site. This answer actually leads us into our next question

Question: Do you write code from scratch?
Answer: The answer should be yes. If it is no or they are unsure then you have an issue. Having a web company that can actually write code from scratch especially for a complicated and very involved web site is extremely important and can be critical to the operation of your web site. Your site need to have the ability to grow and expand over time…as I have said before, ” A web site is a ever evolving and growing means of communication.”

Remember, interview your potential web development company, spend time with them, ask questions, make a plan, and be sure to ask for examples.

I will be writing some more in-depth blog post that will deal with Planning, Development, Design and Maintenance so please be sure to check back often and feel free to contact me at 864-859-9848 or you can email me at dwerne@mojoe.net

Thank you,

Deveren Werne  – Developer, Designer – Lover of the Web.

Web Design Greenville

 

Step by Step Checklist you should be using when developing a web site.

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Developing Web Site – Make sure that you have  the following: A Plan, Development, Design, and Maintenance of a web site.

I’ve blogged a lot about web site development and I want to make sure I stress a few important items, a web site is a constant ever changing and growing marketing tool for your business, before beginning a web site or web development please consult with an expert, and most of all PLAN your web site. To help you make your plan, here is a simplified checklist for the planning, development, design and maintenance of a website ($ indicates potential additional fees that may be incurred).

PLAN YOUR WEB SITE

  • Make a plan for your site.
  • Consult with several companies and make the right decision for you and your budget.
  • Plan a budget for the development of your web site as well as the maintaining of your web site
  • Decide on if you need a Content Management System (CMS) and if so which one should you use. Drupal, DotNetNuke, Joomla, or WordPress
  • Set a Launch Date – Before you officially launch your site and during the plan phase set a date to launch your site, be sure to make note of that date with the developer but be mindful if you ask for additional pages, functions, or any changes this can and will extend your launch date please decide what is most important to you and your business. Getting the site launched  with the initial content or adding additional content and changes and delaying the launch of your site. This is the most common problem when developing a site. Also remember you can always continue to add to a site very quickly if you have a CMS.
  • VERY IMPORTANT – Once you have chosen a CMS make sure the developer you choose can not only develop in it but support it after the launch of the site. Also make sure that the code is not proprietary and you are allowed to move your site to another company once the contract is completed. This is a common issue with a lot of web developer they either do not tell you that your site has been developed in a proprietary system or that only they can maintain it because no one else in the area supports the CMS they used.

DEVELOPMENT

  • Gather information relative to your site before meeting with web companies. The gathering of information; such as, Pictures, Text, Keywords, Video, Social Links, Phone Numbers, and Address can give you a big head start in the development of your web site.
  • Website Name (Domain Name) – Make sure to choose a name that complements your company, service or product that you are introducing on the web. Tying in your primary keyword into your domain name can be extremely helpful.
  • Competition Researched – Make sure you see what your compettion’s web site looks like, do some research check out their sites. See what you like and don’t like, make a list of things you do and the things you don’t like.
  • Visit other web sites and pick out sites that you like and have function and features you like
  • Make a list of keywords 1 to 25 about your business, Ex: (Web Design Greenville SC, is considered one keyword or phrase)
  • Use Google Keyword Tool to create check your keywords and see how popular they are.
  • Website Title Chosen( Use your number 1 keyword / Key phrase in your title)
  • Website Host Research, if your developer does not have a hosting solution for you. Check around the area for other companies that do not only develop but host the site as well. Having one point of contact is critical. Especially when your site goes down and your web developer has no reason why, then you are calling someone else whom may answer the phone or may not answer the phone.
  • Website Host Chosen and Registered $
  • Website Name Chosen – Make sure once you have chosen a name that when producing collateral pieces like business card, letterhead, envelopes, brochures, invoices, receipt, billboards, mailers, flyers, or any printed piece for your business that your www. is plastered all over the place.
  • Website Name Purchase $ Typically we use Godaddy to register all of our names and we charge exactly what Godaddy charges us.
  • Website Structure and Organization Established – Here is a great resource for structure of a web site – Web Style Structure
  • Link Exchange Researched – Check with your vendors, suppliers or anyone that you do business with and ask about putting a link to your web site on their web site and vice-a-verse.
  • Link Exchange Page Set Up – Make sure if you are going to be exchanging quite a few links that you setup a page to handle your policy and make it easy for other sites to grab your logo and a link to your site. The more in-bound and out-bound links you have the better your site is received as an information hub than just a site selling a product or service.
  • Articles/Resources Provided/Researched – Search the internet, publications, in-house material, collateral pieces and other media for articles / content that you can add o your web site which in turn will add value to your site as a resource of information and will assist with improving your search engine registration.
  • Articles/Resources Chosen – Link to other related articles that are relative to your service or product. Make sure to give credit to the person or company that wrote the article or content that you are linking too.
  • Advertising Inclusion Implemented – Decide wether or not you would like to include advertising on your site, and if so then choose rates and rate sheet that a potential customer can easily download.
  • Search Engine Submission Prepared – Set a goal for your search engine submission. This does not happen over night and it takes several elements to make this successful. Make sure there is a plan from your web developer or SEO specialist and that they plan to analyze the results after a certain period.
  • Search Engine Submission Implemented $ – Even with having a plan and a goal set, this process is not a one time process. It is a constant under-taking. You will always need to be mindful of your web site placement in the search engines because your competition is always trying to get ahead of you and will try the same tactics that you have done.
  • Review Search Engine Submission Results (1-4 months after public release) – Set a date and time to review your search engine placement with your web developer or SEO specialist after about 4 months, so you can find out your placement as well as improve your placement if the goal that was set was not reached.
  • Setup Social Accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Blog, and make sure to have someone whom can update them on a regular basis. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, this must be done on a regular basis it can be the difference between getting a sales or perspective customer. The more you update your site, blog and social accounts the better your chances of bringing someone to your site. “It is like putting hundreds and hundreds of fishing hooks in the water, the more you put in the greater your chances are a landing a big fish.”
  • Add Google Analytic s or Re-Invigorate – At Mojoe we use both of these tools Google is free and re-invigorate it $10.00 dollars a month. We do this so we can have cross comparison of analytical data for your web site.

DESIGN

  • Artwork Compiled – Laying out the colors, fonts, and spacing you like, so that your designer or branding specialist can speed your design time up greatly as well as provide you a more effective brand that you are looking for in your business or service.
  • Color Scheme Research / Presented – Check out these links for Color: KulerColor Scheme Designer or Color Schemer
  • Typography Research / Presented – There are some really helpful web sites available that will make it very easy to choose which fonts to use for your web site. Your Type can send a message an convey meaning just like a picture or logo. So choosing the right font style, color and spacing can be very effective in -conjunction with the rest of your site to present the correct message. Here are some useful resources for researching fonts: Google Fonts, Smashing Magazine, Inspiration Bit, and 1st Web
  • Pictures Research / Presented – “A picture is worth a thousand words” this statement as has more meaning on the web than any where else on the planet. Having a picture that is of quality and meaning can impart so much information about your business that it leaves the words behind. Be mindful of your photography make sure it sends the right message to your viewers when presented on your site. If you use stock photography and photography from a local photographer make sure they compliment each other. The worst thing that can happen is having two different styles of photography on a web site. It sends the wrong message to your viewers but this is a common practice because high-end quality photography cost money. So make a decision wether to use all stock photography for your web site or use all photography you have shot with your digital camera. Pick one quality stand-point for your photography and stay with it, if you are going to mix them then be sure to hire a professional photographer. Here are some helpful stock sites and professional photographers. PABPhoto.com, Patrick Cox, iStock Photo, and Big Stock Photo
  • Creation of a Mood Board – The creation of a mood board for your site and the over all theme of your company is not only a resource to be utilized with the development of your site but with all the collateral pieces that are created for your business. By doing this you will keep a constant brand so your company or service is always recognizable, and this is paramount to the success of your business. Note: “Not every company can design brands as well as develop web sites correctly be careful when choosing a one size fits all company. They are usually great at one aspect but are lacking in other areas.” If you would like more information on the creation of Mood Board, Check out this article at Web Designer Depot.
  • Logo Designed or Prepared as Digital Art – The designing of your logo should incorporate your overall theme for your company. The logo should be made available in several formats for you; such as, black and white and color. Your logo should be able to be scaled from a favicon to a billboard. Which means your logo should be done as an EPS file or what is also know as a vector file so it will scale easily and without having to be re-created.
  • Layout Design Research and Presented – When laying out and designing your site be mindful of how your customers will be viewing your site. Will they be viewing your site via there desktop, laptop, mobile phone, iPad, iPhone, or even their TV. If so you need to make sure that your site is an adaptive web site or a fully responsive web site($ A fully responsive site can cost a great deal of extra money). Web sites that are presented on other devices looks and acts differently make sure your web developer discusses the pros and cons of developing a site for only one device and if they are using Flash on any of the site. How limited your site will become to certain parts of your viewing audience. When we develop a design we present it in all formats that we will be developing for, so if we are doing an adaptive site we will present you with a Desktop version of your site, Laptop version of your site, Tablet version of your site, and a mobile version of your web site.
  • Color Scheme Chosen – Once you and your developer have choose the color scheme make sure he supplies you with a CYMK version which is a printer version of your colors so when you print collateral pieces all of your colors will match. It is best to pick out your printer color first for your collateral pieces and work from that to create the web colors you will need for your web site.
  • Layout/Design Chosen – Once you and your developer have made a decision on the layout and design make sure that once the site is completed and the contract finished get the creation files, font files, color scheme, and any and all other related files. The reason is because this is your web site you want to make sure you have a full and complete version of your site in-case you ever have to take these files to someone else. Also you will see how well organized your developer and his/her team his which will give you some insight to the development of your project.
  • HTML and CSS Coding Design – This part of the process is the structure and the layout of your site. HTML which stands for Hyper Text Markup Language and CSS which stands for Cascading Style Sheets control the look and feel of your site in the browser. Make sure that your code is commented by your developer this can be essential when having multiple developers work on your site. The comments basically are a road map to the construction of your web site and will make it easy for another developer or team to come in and assist or take-over for another company or developer.
  • What is the Function – The function of your site is how your site interacts with potential customers and viewers. This is usually accomplished by javascript, Jquery, or flash. Now there are pros and cons to each make sure they’re explained to you and your understand the benefits and draw backs. So if you want a rotating banner of pictures at the top of your site discuss with your developer how that will be  achieved and will it be visible for all of your audience. Also if you are going to have a form on the site will it be functional for everyone and whom will the form go to?
  • Content and Articles Added – If you are going to be adding additional content or articles to your site on a regular basis make sure they are displayed noteabley on your site so viewers can get to the information as fast as possible.
  • Review Web Standards – So once your site is completed review the web standards that are available. Is your site up to the standards of the target audience you are trying to reach? You can have your developer check and make sure by going to W3C
  • Validate Code – Has all of your HTML and CSS been validated and are there any errors and if so are the errors acceptable based on functions you are using? You can check those out at the following links: Markup Validation or CSS Validation
  • Check Website with Other Browsers – Test your web site in all browsers; such as, FireFox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Opera, and Avant. Also be mindful of the version of each browser. Each browser has different versions and your site depending upon the HTML and CSS will render differently in each browser unless your developer has taken that into consideration. So be sure to ask will my site work in all browser and version of those browser. NOTE: IF you ask for your site to work in all of these and all there version you most likely will get charged additional monies for providing this service. For Example: Internet Explorer has the following version on the web IE9, IE8, IE7,and IE6 the last two are barely even used any more but some people still have them as there browser of choice. You can go to Browser Stats and see current statistics for which browser people are using for their browser you can also see other stats on this site.
  • Check Website with different OS (Operating Systems) – Checking your site in different browsers is very important but be sure to check your site on both Mac and PC for each of the browsers above, or make sure that your developer offers this service when developing your site.
  • Check Website with Various Screen Resolutions – During the layout phase of the construction of you’re site your developer should be discussing the dimension of the site is designing and if he  is designing an adaptive site then this will not matter because he will have taken in the most common resolutions into consideration and this will not be a factor to check. You can see the most common screen resolutions for computer by visiting: Browser Display Statistics
  • Edit and Review Website Presentation – Having one final review and presentation from your developer / development company can b e vital to how your site is recieved when the site is launched, check, check, check and check again for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and how your site is presented to the viewer. Have a meeting to discuss the aspects you are completely satisfied with and be sure to let them know which ones you are not satisfied with, most developer will try and work it out. Remember the site is not only for your business but a representation of the developers work and ability. He wants to be just as proud of the site as you do and will strive to do everything possible to make this happen.
  • Test Website (typically 2-4 weeks) – Test, Test, Test, and test some more. Have your friends, family, and long time customers test your site before doing the official launch of your site. This will make your site error proof as much as possible. Because your friends and family will give the unbiased opinion and this will assist you and the developer with in-valuable feedback. For small web site this is not as big a priority as larger site, database driven sites or e-commerce sites.
  • Test Links – Check your links on all pages. Especially if your site is a large site when links to articles, blog, resources, or shopping cart. If you have a site map on your site(and you should) then check all of the links on there as well.

WEB SITE MAINTENANCE $ (This can cost additional money, please check when developing your site)

  • Frequently Update – Updating your social feeds is one thing but not updating your actual web site can hurt your search listing. Be sure to set a schedule for both your  social feeds and your web site. If you do not want to be responsible for this, then hire the development company to take care of it and plan a schedule with them.
  • Check for Errors – Always check for errors, you or the development company you contract with should check for errors on a regular basis.
  • Add Link Exchanges – Having a link exchange policy in place on your site can be very helpful for driving traffic to your site and increasing your over all page rank.
  • Check for Bad Links – If you link to other web sites for articles, resources, or other forms of information be sure to check those links on a schedule as well because over time links will get broken and if no one fixes them on your site then your site looks like it is not begin managed properly and this will send the wrong message to your audience.
  • Keyword Review and Update – After about 4 to 6 months review your keywords that you have used in your text and in your meta-tags. Check and see if these are working for you and your web site if they are not, then speak with your SEO specialist or your developer. You can also analyze you’re  site at Web Site Grader
  • Check Link Popularity – If you are being linked to or are linking to other companies check their page rank to see how popular their site may be. The higher the page rank the potential for more some of that traffic to visit your web site. You can check your page rank at Google Page Rank
  • Review New Technology – Be on the look out for new and developing technology. Make sure that the developer that you engage is aware of these technologies and how they can better assist you in the development and design of your web site. There are currently emerging technologies like HTML5 and CSS 3 which make the web experience even better and less dependent on images and other older web technologies.
  • Review Web Standards – If you add additional content to your site or make changes to your site make sure your site is still meeting the web standards.
  • Check Site Statistics – Be mindful of your marketing strategies and how its affects the statistics on your site. Having your statistics sent to you weekly will help you keep an eye on how your site is progressing and if your marketing campaign as made an impact on your site visitors.
  • Add New Content – I can not say this enough, please add more content to your site on a regular basis a stagnate web site will not preform give you the desired results for new business. ” A web site is a constantly ever-changing and evolving form of communication fro your business.
  • Check Links – Keep checking your links every time your site is updated.
  • Validate Code – Make Sure to keep validating your code on a regular basis, make sure it is added to the routine or schedule.
  • Re-Submit Site to Search Engines – If you hire a company to do your Search Engine Registration and Optimization for your web site then ask them what is there schedule of submission. How often will they submit your site to the search engines and for how long. Will they generate you a report of the submission which will show you whom they are submitting to and if your submission was received or not.
  • Check Web Page Descriptions – Make sure that your web page descriptions are unique and correlate to the page that they’re on and that the description is not generic.
  • Check Web Page Titles – Your page title should also correlate to the page that the viewer is on and should be unique to that page. Do not use your companies name in the front of the title. Use a unique identifier for that page then add your company name into the title as well.
  • Review Meta Tag Standards and Update – If you are not at the top of the search engines for a particular keyword or key phrase then see what is missing from your site. You may also need to create new content that re-use that keyword or key phrase more frequently.
  • Review Top Searches from Search Engines (potential new content ideas) – Check your search terms and see what is being pulled up by your keywords and key phrases see if you are listed and if not see what your competition is doing so you can better your site and its performance in the search engine.

Just like maintenance, search engine registration and optimization is an ongoing ever-expanding and changing service and will require additional money and time. Search Engine Optimization and Registration is a whole another separate service just like branding, logo creation and developing a web site. So when having a company provide SEO Services be sure of the cost and the amount of time involved with the project.

I will be writing some more in-depth blog post that will deal with Planning, Development, Design and Maintenance so please be sure to check back often and feel free to contact me at 864-859-9848 or you can email me at dwerne@mojoe.net

Thank you,

Deveren Werne  – Developer, Designer – Lover of the Web.

Launch of Sites

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Launch of Sites – Web Design Greenville

We have currently launched the following sites:

www.thepalmettomortuary.com - our first new design which is WordPress web site and that is adaptive to mobile devices, iPads, and Computers. Located in Greenville off of Woodruff Road.

www.staff1plus.com - A fully customized WordPress with its own custom theme. Located in Easley off of Hwy 123

www.mysolor.com - A fully customized WordPress with a custom theme and added full search engine registration and analytics. Located in several states but primarily in Greenville

www.kempgrp.com - We created a WordPress site with a custom theme.

 

Designing and Developing a web site | Web Design Greenville, SC

Friday, June 17th, 2011

So what happens when you design and develop a web site?

Well, there are quite a few steps that happen when developing and designing a web site. So, we are going to take you through the process step by step with a real live client. (Yes, the client is actually real.

First, we begin by having a two hour discovery meeting with the client to listen to what the client needs, wants, and would like to have happen with their web site. During this meeting we ask incisive questions and develop a list of services that will need to be performed in order for client to receive the web site that he/she would like. In the midst of this process we educate our clients about web design, programming, search engine optimization, and all aspects of web development.

So enough about the process lets actually start off with our client which is www.mysolor.com and our contact is Alex Swire-Clark. Alex has come to us to re-design and develop their web site. So we have already meet with Alex Swire-Clark and discussed their site. During that meeting we spoke about what he would like the site to do. What goals they would like to eventually achieve with their site as well as what functions they would like the site to perform. (You can break a web site down into 4 parts; one is the design of the site, two is the structure of the site, three is the behavior of the site, and four is the SEO and Social integration of the web site.) We also discussed content management system and educated him on the difference between two platforms Dot Net Nuke and WordPress. (During this meeting we filled out our Creative Strategy with Alex so we could get a clear understanding of his wants and needs.) While we filled out the Creative Strategy we also educated Alex on each step of the process everything from colors, pictures, text to responsive design .

Once our meeting was finished we sent Alex an email letting him know what we heard during the meeting, after receiving his reply we filled out our estimate proposal and sent that over to Alex. We then concluded our contract with Alex and have begun the development of his web site.
So what’s next?…………………..to be continued.

Here is the initial design of the web site for www.mysolor.com

 

Launch of New Site for Trees Greenville

Monday, April 18th, 2011
Trees Greenville New Site Design

Trees Greenville New Site Design

Here is a project that we are about to launch for Trees of Greenville. They wanted a easy way to update and maintian their site so we designed them a custom WordPress web site. Take a look TreesGreenville

New Web Designs for Customers | Web Design Greenville SC

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Here are some new designs that we have been working on for our clients:

Teludyne Tech – you can check out their current web site at www.teludynetech.com

New Web Design for Teludyne Tech

New Web Design for Teludyne Tech by Mojoe.net

Our Lady of  the Rosary Catholic Church web site design by Mojoe.net – you can check out their current web site at www.olrgreenville.net

Web Design for OLR Catholic Church by Mojoe.net

Web Design for OLR Catholic Church by Mojoe.net

Trees Greenville- you can check out their current web site at www.treesgreenville.org

 

New Web Site Design for Trees Greenville by Mojoe.net

New Web Site Design for Trees Greenville by Mojoe.net

 Here is an initial design for PHS (Preferred Health Services); you can check out the final design at www.preferredhealthservices.org

Initial web design for Preferred Health Services by Mojoe.net

Initial web design for Preferred Health Services by Mojoe.net

Content Management Systems AKA (CMS) | Web Design Greenville, SC

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, and DotNetNuke….Oh My!

Which content management system to use? What happens if my site is done in one content management system but my developer quits, takes up another job, or decides not to be a web developer anymore? Then, with some CMS, the developer or the company that created your site you are stuck. Why, you may ask? Well the reason is easy: Most CMSs are fundamentally complex because they are powerful;  require time to learn; and most web hosting companies only know one or two major CMS. Here at Mojoe.net  we have used all of them—at least the four major types– in some form or fashion and we have to say that while some are free to download and use they require the user to navigate risky file downloads from the internet and navigating ‘permissions’ on web server for files and databases.  Here our expertise is critical.

The two main ones that we use and support are WordPress (WP) and DotNetNuke (DNN). We have also used Joomla and Drupal for clients who have required that we use their preferred or ‘legacy’ CMS when deploying or developing their web sites.

WordPress, is a great free CMS that allows anyone to maintain their web site;  WP  includes a blog, e-commerce, videos, slideshow, or 1000s other plugins– a vast majority of them free. WordPress has been around since about 2001 and has grown into a well-supported CMS with themes, plugins, and mobile support. WordPress, can be installed with Apache or IIS Web Server and uses MySQL as the database engine. We recommend this to our clients that would like a small to medium web site that they can grow themselves. We even use the system ourselves for our own blog. We have the ability to customize our clients theme by styling each WordPress via a custom cascading style sheet (CSS); plugins; Google Analytics; tags; categories; and then submit the site to search engines.  You can find out more about WordPress by visiting: http://wordpress.org/about/,

DotNetNuke (DNN) is our premium CMS and is the one that we recommend for clients that are looking for medium to large business web sites. This CMS is based off of ASP.net which is conveniently integrated into other business applications based on Microsoft’s .NET platform. DNN can be installed in IIS and typically uses SQL Server for its database engine. DNN has a free version as well as an enterprise version. We use the enterprise version for our clients which allow for developer support as well as we can customize each web site ‘portal’ to each specific client. This CMS allows the installation of modules which can be added some for free but the majority cost to add to the system. The cost can vary depending upon the type of modules that you wished installed, modules can vary from chat systems, ecommerce, newsletters, email blasting, blogs, video, slideshow rotation, wiki, RSS feed, announcements, Google Analytic, and many more.  The great thing about Mojoe.net is that we can program our own modules, custom design your ‘skin’ (the look, feel, layout, fonts, and colors of your web site), create a custom CSS, optimize your site, add Google Analytics, and then submit the site to search engines. If you would like more information you can visit: http://www.dotnetnuke.com/

Drupal. This is a free content management system that is community supported but can be troublesome at time. This system uses PHP and can run on Apache or IIS while using MySQL as its database engine. In the last year,or so though the support and the community have grown a great deal, and the number of themes that are available run in the thousands. Drupal, is a good content management system but to integrate into other business applications without long development times and bugs can be an issue that can cost time and money. To find out more about Drupal please visit: http://drupal.org/

Joomla, this is another free content management system that is community supported and has its bugs.  This CMS can run on Apache or IIS web server and uses MySQL as its database engine. Joomla, is the most recent CMS (2005) from the 4 CMS in this post. We recommend this one the least because of its issues as well as the fact that the support base for this CMS has not grown has fast as the others. This CMS uses PHP and is primarily deployed on Linux-based OS (Operating System) but can be deployed on Windows Servers just like Drupal. To find out more about Joomla please visit: http://www.joomla.org/

Ask Questions, Questions, Questions
So in conclusion, do your homework about what CMS you would like to use, see if your web design company or web developer knows more than one CMS, check and see how difficult or easy it will be to move your site to another hosting company / provider. Find out what platform your web site is using, such as Linux or Windows? What CMS is your web developer using? Do they know more than one CMS? If so what are they?

What about Mac and Magento? – I will save this for another post all unto itself.

Are Mood Boards necessary for Web Design?

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

When I first begin designing web site’s over 10 year ago; I did not know what a mood board was or that it would become an essential tool in the design and development of a web site.

Recently, I had a potential customer come to me with a design from another development company. They had been through quite a number of revisions. I was asked to review the revisions and determine what was wrong with the design of the site. There were several issues with the web site; the logo was not very appealing and it did not establish the web site or the company with a strong brand. The font size was extremely small for the main text as well as for the main H1 tags. The main image or hero image on the main page had no reference at all to what services the company actually preformed. The overall colors of the site were not very complimentary to each corresponding color, nor were the hyper-link colors very noticeable as to what was a link and what was not a link.

This could have happened for several reasons; one the client was not very forthcoming with ideas and suggestions, the communications between designer and client was mis-understood, or the client conveyed his/her idea but the designer did not do enough research to produce what the client wanted.

So why use a mood board well the answer is clearly above; the design team above had been through 9 revisions before I reviewed one of the latest design attempts. It is my firm believe that if the design team above had used a mood board initially then they most likely would not have gone through 9 revisions.

So your next question must surely be, “What is a Mood Board?” Well, I am about to let you know. A mood board is a pre-comprised board of images, colors, fonts, and a layout style that you are proposing to your client. There are several industries that use mood boards; such as, fashion designer, landscapers and interior designers. You want to inspire your client by the mood boards that you present to them and not frustrate them in this process. This part of designing a web site can be one of the most frustrating and time intensive parts of developing a web site. So take your time and listen to your client spend time asking questions, about their brand, colors, fonts, and style that they are trying to achieve.

I did not originally create this idea; I got this information from Web Designers Depot. Here are some useful links from Web Designers Depot

Why Mood Boards Matter
Massive Compilation of Designer Tools
Case Study on Virgin Atlantic Airways

Cascading Style Sheets | Web Design Greenville SC

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

The first time I designed a site about 10 years ago I used tables to do my layout and to construct the web pages of the site. Which for the time it was the latest technology for designing web sites, by putting tables within tables which is called nesting tables but proved to cause the web site to load slowly. This also caused the visitors to see the site differently in different browsers, so if you viewed the site in Internet Explorer it would look a certain way and if you viewed in another it would look completely different. Well, now the only way you should layout a site is using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).

Why you ask? Well, I am going to let you know. The first and most important thing about CSS is that it is by far more compliant when developing for multiple browsers; you can control not only the web layout that your viewers see in their browser but you can control how a web page is printed, how it is seen in a mobile device, or even how it will be seen on TV.  CSS allows you to control so many aspects of your web site; you can control link color, font types, font sizes, font color, page background color, positioning of columns and positioning of content. These are just a few of the many ways you can control your web page and other web related content.

If you are a beginner and want to know where to start I am going to provide some links below. My recommendation is that you start by just controlling simple content on your site like fonts, link color, and text.   Learn the basics first what can you control and what you cannot control, what will be seen in browsers correctly and what will not. IE (Internet Explorer is notorious for CSS not working correctly and requiring special CSS just for IE to show the web site in the same manner as the other browsers. W3C is a great place to learn the basics and do some tutorials that will teach you the basics as well as more advanced CSS techniques.

One important piece of advice that I can give when designing a web site for a client, customer, or even for yourself is to study as much as possible and do as many tutorials as you can. Here is a list of links that I have used to teach myself as well as links that I referrer back to when designing a site for a client. However, always keep in mind what browsers your site will need to work in; such as, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and as you become more proficient you will need to decide what level of CSS you are going to do use and whom your audience is going to be.

Recommended Links
Web Designer Depot CSS
CSS Tricks CSS
Layout with CSS
CSS for Beginners

The Internet – Copyrights | Web Design Greenville SC

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

My name is Deveren Werne I have worked on web sites and web development for over 10 years. Frequently I get asked questions about the internet, “Is my site copyrighted?”, “Is my domain name protected?” “What do I do if someone copies my web site?”, “What is copyrighted and what is not copyrighted?”, and “What laws are there to protect me from someone stealing the content on my site?” One sec before I continue let me throw out this DISCLAIMER (“I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. I suggest you get your own legal advice when wanting to copyright your web site or web content.”) In the beginning the internet was a wild west of people registering domain names of celebrities, registering domain name for sale, and people copying content, copying design and even there development. Since then though the internet has changed, people can still register domain names and sell them to you but the copyright laws that are present in everyday business now apply to the web site’s. Now these rules and regulations only apply in the United States, they do not apply throughout the entire world. You can file different forms with the US Patent office the forms will protect your text and art. (Once again see the DISCLAIMER)

There is also a book that I recommend highly if you are thinking about designing or developing a web site and you would like to protect the design and content that is presented on your site. The name of the book is called, “This Business of Internet Law: Tools for Navigating the Evolving Business and Legal Landscape of Today’s Internet Environment”. I constantly refer back to this back book. I recommend this book to all of my clients.

I also think you should check out these links when it comes to copyrighting, patents, and other helpful information when thinking about developing a web site and your web content.

Copyright Forms US Goverment
US Patent Office

Another site that I would recommend is the University of Maryland University College

An attorney that I would recommend is Doug Kim with McNair Law Firm

Here is another post from our web site that talks about the 10 Big Myths of Copyrights

 

I will be continuing this post on The Internet on a weekly basis and next post will be on Search Engine Optimization and Registration.

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