Building a Website? 5 Tips to Retain Site Visitors

As any business manager, blogger or budding entrepreneur could tell you, building a website is no easy feat.   You can pay thousands of dollars to have a professional looking design, but that doesn’t mean it will keep people around. You’ve got to consider design as well as functionality when mapping out your web project, and keep your audience at the heart of most decisions.

Below are a few tips that can help steer your web team in the right direction and save valuable dollars on project costs:

1) Navigation: Map out a clear path of site navigation.  Walk through visitor scenarios and if-then decisions, considering how you’d like your site visitor to maneuver their way through the site from beginning to exit.

2) Load time: Make sure your design is not so extensive that it takes too long to load.  On a busy place like the internet, you are always competing for audience attention, and most visitors have very little patience for waiting.

3) Simplicity: Keep your design as professional looking yet simple as possible.  A page cluttered with too much text or images can confuse or deter visitors from doing what you intend them to do.

4) Purpose:  Each page should have a purpose and call-to-action.  Make it clear for visitors what you expect them to do while on a particular page.

5) Technical Considerations: Test to make sure your site will populate using the most of the major web browsers, including IE, Firefox, and Safari.  Also consider that different screen resolutions are not the same as yours, and adjust your design as needed.  And most importantly, choose a domain host that is reliable.

While this may not be the kitchen sink on web design 101, following these tips with the advice of an experienced web developer will help make your web project a sound investment for your business or blog.

Are we forgetting any?  Please share in the comments below.

Domain name taken? Not to worry! 5 Tips for Alternate Name Selection

You’ve analyzed your great idea from top to bottom, worked through your business plan and are finally ready to take the leap and launch your new business.  Then the inevitable happens– you go to register your domain and find out your desired name is already taken.   Nothing short of taking the wind out of your sails, right?

Our advice?  Breathe and reboot… it’s not the end of the world.

You just have to move to plan B, and keep in mind these
helpful tips for alternate domain name selection:

1) Rethink your name.  Chances are there’s a pretty good alternative that will work with only a slight variation.

2) Register with an organization that tracks domain names that are about to expire. Oftentimes, you can request an alert when a  domain relevant to your business was not renewed.   Patience is certainly a virtue and you may have some luck and get the domain name you really want.

3) If you’re really stuck, you can always put in an offer for your “must have” domain name.  Just remember it’s going to cost you more depending on its popularity and how much the current owner is willing to budge.

4)  Tight on money?  Consider a .net, .biz or .org.   These are widely growing in popularity, and may hold you over until your .com becomes available or you allocate enough budget to buy it from another owner.

5) Relax… your domain name isn’t going to make or break your budding business.  People will evitably be drawn to the products and services you offer and how well you market them, not just where they sit on the internet.

Do you have other tips for alternate domain name selection? Leave them in the comments!

Server access headaches? Try setting up your own router with DDNS.

A cable/DSL router or dialup access point can cost hundreds of dollars and still be extremely difficult to configure.  The last thing you need is denied server access when you need it most.  Instead of paying a large sum of cash for a hassle-in-a-box, take control by transforming one of your computers into a router with DDNS.

How, you ask?  By following these simple steps with No-IP.

Using DDNS will allow the updater to seamlessly report IP changes to No-IP as they occur, rather than having downtime waiting for the next time your updater reports the new IP. This eliminates server access issues.   The best part?  It’s completely affordable.  For the cost of only an additional Ethernet card and a bit of your spare time, you can have a cable/DSL/dialup router set up for your network with the ability to run servers that are completely accessible from both the internet and the internal network.

Questions on how to get started?  Please share them in the comments below or feel free to contact us.

DDNS: Easing Efficiency and Access to Point of Sale Devices

Whether your sales team is working 2 or 2,000 miles away, the last thing you need to worry about is accessing your point of sale system.  Information is critical to making better business decisions and when you need it- you need it.  Yet all too often, the majority of point of sale devices that use a dynamic or non-static IP address run into access issues because users simply don’t know the IP address; causing inconvenient headaches during peak business hours.

A simple fix to address this problem is to implement Dynamic DNS.   A DDNS service will allow you to access your POS device without having to remember a lengthy IP address.  You specify your own device name and use the same name every time you access the device.  This allows you to quickly call  results from your sales device that allow you to make better decisions that impact your bottom line.  The best part?  It’s completely affordable and easy to set up.

Next time your sales team hits the road, trade show or sales floor, prepare ahead of time by setting up Dynamic DNS.

3 Benefits of Dynamic DNS

A static IP address has many advantages, yet can be difficult or expensive to obtain and configure.  Dynamic DNS is a more affordable option and works regardless if you have a dynamic or static IP address.

Dynamic DNS provides the capability for a networked device to notify a DNS server to change, in real time, the active DNS configuration of its configured hostnames, addresses or other information.   It has a number of benefits, including:

  • Ease & Efficiency - There’s no need to go from PC to PC setting up static addresses every time your network infrastructure changes.
  • Accessibility - You can access your system using a consistent name in the URL even though the IP address changes.
  • Savings - You only need as many addresses as will be in use at any one time, rather than having one for every possible user of IP.

If you’re a business user working remotely with VPN, requiring remote access for devices, or just hosting a website or personal blog, Dynamic DNS is a clear choice.

Have you switched to Dynamic DNS yet? Find out more about No-IP’s service here.