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How To Improve Your Website Security

John Dion

By John Dion

Category: Development

How To Improve Your Website Security

How To Improve Your Website Security

By John Dion

In recent years, building an online presence has been made easy by the many tools available to the public. From Joomla, WordPress, to Drupal content management online has become easier. You can now build a website and keep it running without necessarily spending years in the learning process. Though this is the case, there are many issues that come with a website and one of them is security. There are many website owners who concentrate too much on what the website does and forget about keeping their website safe. It is important that you understand how to improve your website’s security to protect your interests and those of your visitors.

 

The following are some of the things that will help you keep your website secure from people with unlawful intentions.

Frequent Updates

Updates cannot be emphasized enough. The main reason why most websites are compromised is because they still use outdated software that is unsecured. As soon as a new plugin or CMS version is available, you should update your website. Hacking in the modern world is automated. This means bots will be scanning through websites constantly to find loopholes to attack it. Get notification apps that inform you when there are updates and you can be sure that your site will not be vulnerable due to the software in use.

Passwords

Most web owners have passwords that cannot be considered safe. You cannot just have your username as admin and your password as admin. If you have a password appearing on the list of the most common passwords, you can be sure that your website will definitely be hacked. Why then should you expose your website to hackers? It is import to have a password that is not related to anything about you such as birth date or any other personal information. The best way to get passwords that randomly generated because they are difficult for hackers to find out. Make sure you do not use the same password in different sites. If one is cracked, the hacker might try to use the password on other accounts. If you have many accounts, you might be wondering how you will remember all of them. Well, you do not have to because there are password managements systems to help you out on this.

User Access

It is possible that your site has different users logging in to work on the site. The users should have appropriate permission to access different areas. If there is a need, you can give a user access momentarily and then reduce it when they have completed a task. For instance, if you want a blogger to post a guest blog, you can give them access without administrative privileges. You can check logs to view the activities of the user when they are logged in. This will help you monitor any suspicious activities on the site.

Change CMS Settings

As mentioned, most attacks are automated and some depend on the weakness of default settings. Hackers know these settings and will, therefore, create bots that can manipulate your site from this perspective. To be on the safe side, you should change the default settings as soon as you install the content management system. It is easy to change the settings during the installation process though they can be done later.

Backups Are Important

Website security is about ensuring that the content and data is safe from people with unlawful intentions as well as catastrophic events. Such events can take everything with it and this is why backups exist. You might not see the need for backing up everything but when something happens, you will thank yourself for backing your site. The good news is that there are effective backup solutions that webmasters can use. It is important to have website backups but you should not risk it all by storing it on your web server. This is because the backups will contain information that you do not want hackers to get their hands on.

Server Configuration Files

It is important to understand web server configuration files. For instance, Microsoft IIS servers use web.config, Nginx servers use nginx.conf and Apache web servers use .htaccess file. These files are very important and powerful and are often found in the root web directory. These files will allow web owners to execute rules by servers including the directives that will be upgrading your site’s security. Some of the rules that will help in improving your security include preventing directory browsing, preventing image hotlinking and protecting the sensitive files on your site.

Include SSL In your Security Arsenal

Well, there are many posts claiming that SSL installation will solve all your security problems. This is not entirely true because SSL will not prevent malicious attacks, it will only protect communication between the website server and the browser. This makes sure that there is not interception of this traffic which is important. SSL plays an important role in e-commerce sites and any other sites that involve the submission of sensitive information such as bank account details and Personally Identifiable Information. The SSL certificate will protect your visitors’ information and this will in turn protect you from all the legal issues attached to being non-compliant with PCI DSS.

File Permissions

File permissions determine who can do what to a certain file. Each file comes with 3 permissions that are presented by numbers. There is Read (4) which allows viewing of the contents, Write (2) which allows changing of the contents and execute (1) which allows the running of the script or program file. If you want users to have permission for different elements you can just add the numbers. For instance, 6 means that the user can write and execute.

Conclusion

The above steps are some of the most important steps you need to know when improving security on your website. You now have a clue on how to improve your website’s security and this will help you a great deal in saving money and time. Tight security also gives your visitors the confidence they need to freely use your website.

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Major Web Development Trends For 2017

Major Web Development Trends For 2017

By Latoya Robinson

Website development has always been in constant evolution thanks to technology. The internet has something new and this means that websites can develop further every year. It is important to state that technology is not the only thing that influences change in web development. There are also other factors but the main one is human behavior. Websites are developed for humans and this means the user’s experience plays a major role in setting the rules of development. We will look at the major web development trends for 2017 to understand how they will influence development.

 

As a business, you must be ready to take advantage of new trends to better your website. The internet is literally made of competition and being left a step behind will greatly cost your business a great deal in profits. It is only safe for you to assume that your direct competitors are taking all steps possible to beat you. This way, you will be working extra hard to be a step ahead in your industry. Websites are important parts of a business and you should make sure that yours is giving your target audience a great experience for increase engagement and conversion.

The Minimalist Design Trend

The minimalist design is taking over the development world. This is where a website is developed in such a way that it focuses on the input of users. All the content and elements that are unnecessary are eliminated to create a streamlined website. This trend has two main advantages, the user gets a better experience and the website is fast to load. Some people argue that the minimalist design trend is taking the flare and visual appeal from websites. Well, the fact that many organizations are putting it in use means that it must be providing more benefits that outweigh any existing drawbacks.  It however, depends on the industry you are in and what the website is supposed to do.

More Focus On User Experience

Today, the process of building a website is more focused on giving the user an experience they will not forget. In place of basic frameworks that build websites that are rather boring, developers are using additional tools to enhance the experience of the users. The additional changes results in things such as the parallax design where the background and the foreground move in different speeds. It also includes the highlighting of links such that they are easy to identify on computers as well as smaller screens.

 

Cinemagraphs are the movements within that are improving the experience of users. They are becoming popular and use less bandwidth compared to videos and bring more versatility to the table. Developers are now pushed towards the story telling end. This is because story telling keeps the audience glued to the screen and this trend just makes this happen.

Interface Improvement For More User Engagement

The evolution of web design and the internet at large has greatly influence the development of website layouts. Instead of a basic link in the navigation, developers are now going for creative user interfaces that lean more on being interactive. The experience users get is more like controlling an application as opposed to a website. The main reason why this trend is major is because of the fact that most people are now using mobile phone to access the internet. There is the touch screen factor that results in larger links and buttons. Responsive design has proven that it is not simply about ensuring a site fits well in smaller screens, it is also about making it easy to navigate the site.

Long Website Scrolling

Close to two decades ago, experts were against long-scrolling and encouraged developers to avoid it. This trend has however become popular and all credits go to social media and the flat design. Since mobile phones are leading in internet access, you can understand why long scrolling is a major development trend. Users use their fingers to navigate the web. For most of them, it is easy to scroll long and not sit waiting for a page to load after tapping the ‘next’ button. For this reason, developers are now focusing on long scrolling that will most probably get rid of the many pages of a website. This brings us to the next trend which is lazy loading.

Lazy Loading Trend

Lazy loading is a new concept by web developers. The concept involves loading certain elements of the website only when they are really necessary. This is aimed at increasing the site’s efficiency and loading speed. The concept works well on any platform whether it is using a reseller hosting account or a shared server. In conventional sites, all the elements of the website, including graphics and content load at once. If the page in question is full of materials, the loading is delayed. Lazy loading makes sure that the website will load faster and this is exactly what users are looking for.

 

This trend has greatly helped the slow internet connection problem. There are also older mobile phone versions that have a problem in loading heavier websites. Instead of trying to load all elements, this technology ensures that only the necessary materials load and this gives mobile and computer users a better experience. Keep in mind that there are more people accessing the internet using their mobile phones than those doing it using the traditional desktops. This simply means that any development element that involves improving mobile user experience cannot be overlooked.

Conclusion

Web development trends are always changing and what was hot a few years ago might be dead today. As a web developer, it is important that you know the major wed development trends of 2017 to make sure that you are a step ahead in your industry. These trends are all geared towards improving the website to give users a better experience. There are other trends that will go big this year but all we can do is sit watch as we use the existing trends.

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Web Developer vs. Web Designer, How Do You Differentiate

Web Developer vs. Web Designer, How Do You Differentiate

By Derek Robinson

Everywhere you look, you will not miss someone calling themselves a web developer or a website designer. So, what do these terms mean? Can a person be both and what are the differences. Because of the confusion that people have, you will find a person looking for a web designer while what they actually need is a web developer. This has always been a topic of debate because people do not really understand what these two professionals do in the process of building a website. For this reason, we will look at web developers vs. web designers, how do you differentiate them and the actual part they play in website building.

 

It is important that we look at each of the profession on its own. To differentiate them, look at the parts they play together to make a functioning website.

Web Designers

A designer designs the website. They use programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign to create the visual aspect of the web site. Once this is done, it is merged with coding which brings the website to life.

 

The designer is in most cases not the person writing the code. His work is to simply create the components that the website will have including the layout. They will then hand over this design to another expert who will write the code and make it a functional website.

 

A large part of the work the designer completes is based on imagination and situation it is all about creativity and the consideration of the people who are targeted by the website in question. Professionals in this line of work can get involved in other fields but they are mostly active in arts and graphic design. They always collect portfolios which they show to potential clients. A strong designer is always skilled in different concepts such as special relationships, user experience, and color and typography.

Website Developer

While there are aspects of a website developer that appear similar to what a designer does, the two work on two different levels. Remember the expert who the designer gives the design for coding? That is the developer. Web developers are the people behind the building of the website’s backbone. They understand languages specific to the web and build this backbone from the ground up. The developer’s kit is full of tools such as CSS, JavaScript, HTML, and JQuery among others. Developers will not focus on making the website look attractive. The only focus on steps that make sure the code they are creating is technically sound and clean.

 

Historically, developers have been thought to be left-brained workers. Their skills and technical ability are exceptional and to work efficiently, they must think logically. Most web developers have degrees in different fields with the most common being programming and computer science. They also need portfolios to show potential clients. The best developers are keen on specifics and are detail-oriented because their profession involves a lot of coding.

Two different Jobs, One Main Goal

Web designers might work on different parts of making a website but at the end of the day, they have one goal, to make a functioning website that is safe to and interesting to use for the target audience. To accomplish this, the design must be on point and the development must be sound. For a site to be complete, it needs to look good and also function properly. The appearance of the website needs to reflect the brand and the interface should encourage users to obey the call to action.

 

As more and more designers learn coding, the line that exists between development and designing starts to get blurred. Developers on the other hand are paying attention to the theories used in web design. This means that in the near future, the job title will most probably be web developer/designer.

Working Together

One of the main reasons why web developers and designers might find it difficult to work together is communication. Both of these processes involve a lot of jargon that the other expert might not understand. To bridge the gap between the two and make working together a smooth affair, you might want to consider the following

  • A reduction in the jargon used
  • When one needs to explain something to the other, showing is a better method instead of telling. Using working sketches will make work easier for everyone.
  • In a world where everything is run through ideas, it is important to be open-minded. A designer should accept design concepts suggested by the developer and the developer should accept user experience ideas from the designer.
  • Learning about each other’s profession is a great idea. This will make sure that whatever you are working on will merge perfectly with the next steps handled by the other professional.

Can a Developer Be a Designer?

The web developer vs. web designer, how do you differentiate them information can show you that the two are different. The truth is that they do not have to be. With the advancements in technology used in web design and development design and development are converging.

 

As mentioned, designers are learning a lot about development and vice-versa. The answer is that you can be both but you will need to learn all the new skills in both processes. Some critics might be saying that web design is dying but it is not. The only thing that is happening is that it is evolving.

Conclusion

While at the end of the day web design and development achieve the same results which are to make the website functional and attractive, they are different processes that follow different steps. Design involves making the visual element of the website such as layouts, topography and fonts. The developers will take the design and give it life by making the components created by the designer functional. At least now you understand web developer vs. web designer, how do you differentiate them and how these two work together to make a functioning websites that you visit.

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What Is The Future Of Web Development In 2017

What Is The Future Of Web Development In 2017

By John Dion

In the past few years, the web has become a part of our everyday lives. We use websites for a lot of things from banking, shopping to reading daily news. Because of the high use of websites, the demand for web development is at its highest. What web developers can do is huge and this is why we have different sites despite there being so many.  As 2017 progresses, we cannot help but ask ourselves, what is the future of web development in 2017? In this post, we will have a look at the many different technologies and additions that we expect to grace this year in relation to web development.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Whenever there is a mention of the future of web development, you cannot lack the topic of artificial intelligence. Right now, it will not just be a mention because there have been a lot of advancements and research in the AI field in recent years. Google DeepMind built the first program, AlphaGo, which beat a professional Go player. Most of the largest corporations such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook are releasing artificial intelligence programs to the users. This technology is already being used in applications such as Google to improve search and by Wikipedia in identification of articles that have been damaged or are inaccurate.

 

Since this technology is becoming easier to access, we can all expect to see more web developers using it in their work. For instance, you can expect to get an artificial intelligent web designer that will ask you about colors, branding, content and layout and it will give you a website. The machine will be learning as it does thing for a better implementation in future.

Virtual Reality (VR)

When you answer the question what is the future of web development in 2017, you can expect that virtual reality will crop up somewhere in your conversation. This is a trend that has already started taking over the gaming world and is expected to spread to other industries. Large companies such as Mozilla and Google are already working on APIs that will help in the transition of virtual reality technology to the web. According to the momentum of this technology and the trends that we have already witnessed, we can expect that VR will get into more industries and be used in more applications. You can expect to see VR in news coverage and real estate tours in the near future.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of things is a technology that involved the connection of non-internet connected things such that they can send and receive information. These things can be kettles, toasters, blenders and sensors in concrete to detect cracks. While web developers might not be directly connected to developing this technology, they will very much be involved in developing applications that help in their operations. They will also be involved in the analysis and display of data collected from these devices. There are companies that have already started working on APIs that will be used by web developers in communicating with these internet of things devices. Though this technology is expected to be on the rise this year, there is a growing concern about security. It is clear that web developers will have to face a number of challenges especially in protecting these devices from hackers.

Rails 5

Rails 5 is the newest Rails version and was released mid 2016. This version is still young but is expected to gain a lot of popularity in 2017. Web developers are already excited by the new additions that came with the new Rails 5. These include Turbo 5 which allows developers to create Single page like applications right from the Rails stack. It allows links to fetch the full HTML pages and replace the body without the client-side JavaScript frameworks. There is also ActionCable which is a new way of using websockets in rails aimed at the creation of real-time apps. This addition has made the creation of chat and notification features easy while still giving access to all the resources of ActiveRecords. Rails 5 has also merged the rails_api into its database. This means that a developer can create API only apps in Rails and hook them to native or JavaScipt frameworks.

Angular 2

In 2016, there was a release of Angular 2. This release was accompanied by a lot of changes such as the redesign of Google’s Frontend JavaScript framework. After this release, Angular announced that there will be a regular release that will be scheduled. According to their statement, they will be releasing 3 minor updates and a major updated once every six months. This means that 2017 web developers can expect a lot of changes from this widely used framework.

Yarn Package Manager

Package managers have become incredibly popular especially for fronted JavaScript communities. These tools have increasingly made things easy for developers especially in the installation, updates and configuration when dealing with app development. Bower and NPM are the most popular package managers in JavaScript. However, Facebook has developed a new package manager working together with Google, Tilde and Exponent.  We can expect this trend to continue this year. Yarn is aimed at addressing the problems that Facebook has been facing with other packages such as NPM especially in matters related to security, consistency and performance.

Static Site Generators

Static site generators can develop a website from plaintext. The text is stored in files as opposed to databases. The use of static generators has advantages such as speed, security and deployment ease. The problem is that they do not have user content like comments and these are a must today. While this technology might find its way in 2017, it might not carry as much weight as expected.

What is the Future of Web development in 2017 – Conclusion

There are obviously a lot of web development trends that will be witnessed in 2017 and beyond. If you are in development, you need to keep your eyes wide open because some of these trends will play a major part in your work. For now, we just have to wait and change as changes come.

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Instagram Is Testing Shopping Features For Retailers

Instagram Is Testing Shopping Features For Retailers

By Derek Robinson

Instagram has become a huge social network and is about to take things into the next level. Most people are online looking for things they can buy or sell or where they can find them. It makes sense to have shopping features on social platforms where most people are today. This is because hundreds of millions of people access their social media platforms every day. That said, Instagram is testing shopping features for retailers to give users an opportunity to shop without necessarily exiting the app.

So, How Will This Work?

At the bottom left side of the post, there will be an icon labeled ‘Tap to View Products’. Tapping on this icon will reveal the names of the products tagged in the post and their prices. There can be as much as 5 items tagged.  Tapping on the product will provide more details. All this will be happening on the Instagram app.

 

Additionally, there will be a ‘shop now’ link that users can tap on. Doing this will take the user to the retailer’s site where they can view and purchase the item. These are not categorized as ads though Instagram has ads with a buy button you can tap on.

 

For now, these features are on the testing stage therefore not available to all Instagram users.

 

According to Instagram, the features will appear on a group of users in the US. This is part of the testing as they roll out the project further and include more users. They expect to get recommendation and figure out how the products will be displayed for shoppers. They are also working on a save function that allows shoppers to save information for later action. This feature is expected to roll out worldwide as changes and improvements are made.

 

In the testing period, this feature will only involve 20 retail brands in the US. These are Abercrombie & Fitch, Warby Parker, BaubleBar, Coach, Hollister, J.Crew, Kate Spade New York, MVMT Watches, Levi’s Brand, Michael Kors, Target, JackThreads, Tory Burch, Chubbies, Shopbop, Lulus, and Macy’s.

 

This test will definitely be putting Instagram in Pinterest’s territory. It is not long since Pinterest made a similar update that highlight products on the images to give users an easier time shopping.

 

If you are an Instagram user, what are your views on this shopping feature and would you like to use it?

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What Motivates Users to Download Apps?

What Motivates Users to Download Apps?

By Derek Robinson

This is a simple straightforward question, right? Well it is a simple question with a simple answer. First you need to know why the user is looking for an app. The simplest answer is so that they can solve an existing problem. So, what motivates users to download apps? Motivation is the keyword here. This is the driving force that leads to a user wanting to download a specific app, in this case, your business’s application.

 

If you scratch the surface of the question, you will realize that it needs a broader look and this will basically complicate the answer. In most of the things that we do in our daily lives, there are multiple apps. All industries have countless applications and more are still being developed. The question is, if there are all these applications in the same industry, what will motivate them to download a new app?

 

Again, it is likely you will go with the simplest answer which is that the new applications are better than the existing ones. The truth is that the mobile app era has been around for some time and pretty much every one making an app knows how to make a good fresh one. This means that the newness is not the only thing behind the motivation.

 

It is not all about the problem that the app will solve for the user or about the quality of the app; it’s about both of these qualities and more. One download and use is different from the others but the most important thing is that it helps the user solve a problem better than other apps can. Most users download an app because someone told them to download it, they saw an advertisement or because they have nothing else to do.

 

Suddenly, there is no simple answer to what motivates users to download an app.

 

The quality of the application is no longer the only thing that determines its success. There are other factors such as the audience you are targeting, what they need, what they desire, the problems they are facing, the people around them and the marketing strategies you employ. This means that just having an app does not make the cut if all these other factors will not be put into consideration.

The Little Things Matter

A recent study by Yahoo explains a number of motivations that drive users to download new applications. These motivations are broken into a number of categories

 

A user has a problem they think can be solved by an app
A user is bored and looking for something interesting such as a game
A friend recommended the app
They have an app that does not meet their needs

 

In most cases, people think that apps downloads are purely based on problem solutions. According to the study by Yahoo, the top reason why most people download apps is boredom. Yes you heard that right, boredom. 80% of the people downloading applications are simply bored and want to download something interesting and this is how they find themselves on popular app stores.

 

The second reason is recommendations from other people. A user will be motivated to have the app on their phone because a friend told them the app is good or they came across an advertisement. Friends are most convincing when it comes to recommendations and this is according to a study by Google. There is power in word of mouth and the Yahoo study shows that the main reason why most people will avoid your application is because of negative reviews. The next time you see a negative review, you should think about this statement.

 

There are many people trying to get rid of ads but studies show that a good number of people downloaded apps as a result of advertisements. This means that advertising should not be ignored. You can significantly increase the app downloads by advertising to a target audience with a focus on demographics, device used among other metrics. You just need to make sure the ad is created in an interesting way.

Apps Can Solve Problems

After boredom, word of mount and other motivators, the fact that apps can solve problems comes in. According to the study by Yahoo, though the main motivators are boredom and recommendations, an app that does not seem to solve problems as effectively as new apps will be abandoned. If there is a problem in solving problems, the user will most probably download a newer or different app.

 

Most of the app downloads happen on the go when the user faces a problem. This is referred to as the hungry audience. This is because they are always looking for something the market is not currently offering. This means that when the app is downloaded, it will not be used all the time and might actually be deleted after the problem is solved. This puts problem solving as a common motivation why apps are solved.

Understanding the Motivations and Reasons

Increasing conversion rates, improving engagement and improving loyalty are all daunting tasks but absolutely necessary. If you do not know why people are using your app, nothing will make sense.

 

In today’s world of technology, applications are part of everything we do. People spend an average of 30 hours every day on apps every month. This is according to a study by Nielsen. Any situation that starts with ‘I want to’ will mostly end up with the user opening an app and finding what they want. It is your responsibility to find out what they want and make sure the process of finding it is easy.

 

To have a successful app that is downloaded multiple times, you should ensure that you find out the reason why the app is downloaded and the motivation behind the download. Understanding why a user will download an app will give you an idea of what to include in your app for more downloads. A good idea is to work with professional developers to get a great app. If you are here, then you are in the right place.

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Web Development Trends 2016

Top Web Development Trends 2016 You Must Know

By Derek Robinson

We are already past halfway in 2016. Before the year goes too far, it is important to have a look at the top web development trends 2016 you must know to make your website better and improve user experience. This year has seen new frameworks, evolving technology and powerful development tools. In short, it has been and will be a great year for web developers and users alike. The following are some of the trends to keep an eye on:

Motion UI (Motion User Interface)

This is a Sass library that makes one part of the 3 parts of Zurb Apps foundation. The main reason it is widely used it its high speed in CSS transitions and animation creation. The use of Motion UI makes the transition of application is smoother and richer with the predefined motion. The process is also less complicated. The manner in which animation elements are integrated seamlessly in websites is the main reason why Motion UI has become a top preferred library by web developers. Motion UI has not been in operation for long, but it shows all the signs of staying for a long time.

New Responsive Designs Through Advanced Platforms

There is a lot of advanced technology getting into the market and this means things will change before the end of the year. The new technology is not only showing advances in 2016, the introduction of new applications will set a stage for years to come.

 

The introduction of responsive designs will not only be limited to mobile. This is because there are a bunch of other devices that require responsiveness such as wearable gadgets like the glasses and smart watches. The technologies used in better responsiveness are growing in popularity. In addition to all the other technologies, Sematic User Interface is a new design framework that has become quite popular and in demand.

Internet Of Things Is SEt To Be Huge

IoT, or internet of Things has become a significant part in development of apps. According to statistics by Technavio, Internet of Things is projected to enjoy a 31.72% growth from the year 2015 to 2019.

 

Gartner has also predicted that at least 50% of Internet of Things development will be from young startup companies that have been in business for three or less years.

 

IoT makes exchange of data easy in a way that was not possible before. This is through internet linking of smart devices.

 

We should expect to see more devices connected to the network. This will make sure users can access these devices. Developers will be upgrading solutions to make the communication between users and gadgets and equipment an easy affair.

Browser-based IDEs

Chances are that there is a development environment you love and are used to. It might be you are a fan of VIM or you love using IntelliJ. Well, let’s just say that this will be changing soon. Many people have started using Cloud based IDEs and we can expected that more will jump into the bandwagon.

 

The main reason behind this shift is because these IDE versions are faster and more accessible. Some of them enjoy huge communities behind them. The most important element here is the flexibility. While these IDEs might not be your fulltime tools, it is important to be aware of their existence and how accessible they are especially if you want to handle a quick bootstrap code of jade test without the need of downloading any files.

Full Screen Navigation designs

This is an important feature geared towards improving mobile user experience on their devices. For instance, if a mobile user is using their mobile device to navigate a website and they come across a form they will need a different view. With this feature, a simple tap will have the form jump to full screen and this will give the user an easy time filling it.

 

We have seen many developers and designers develop and design websites that carry the full-screen navigation design and this trend is expected to continue.

Foundation For Apps

Foundation for Apps is a new single page framework for apps. It is created around the flexbox grid framework and Angular JS. The framework is geared towards quickening the creation of responsive web application through facilitation to a quick code writing unique to the app.

 

The framework was initially introduced in 2014 and featured the unique clean code and positioning capabilities. These features have not yet been fully discovered. However, we can expect to see the rise of foundation for apps as many companies have started the use of the advanced version of the framework in 2016.

Everything Real-time

2016 has seen the rise of multiple apps that operate in real-time. The implementation of real-time analytics in mobile and desktop apps has been on the rise. In social medial marketing, we expect to see the increase in use of live streaming. This is in a time when applications such as Meerkat and Periscope are becoming popular. With all the changes and the developments of real-time applications, real-time services such as Pusher.com will become more popular in the industry.

Containers Will Be Bigger

Though Containers have been in use for a long time, they have only become more popular with the Docker introduction. Docker is the container introduced to enable faster software development. The increase in speed is also seen in isolated environment. A container has the dependencies required to run an application and therefore it can do it on its own.

 

What this means for developers is faster building, testing and deploying of applications anywhere. This service will run in just about any environment. We expect that Docker will add new features and gain security.

Advertisement Blocking On Websites

Website owners have been losing money around the world courtesy of advertisement blockers. In UK, ad blocking grew by about 82% reaching 12 million users. This greatly affects the earning of small sites that depend on ad revenue and also big publishers.

 

2016 has seen the minimization of ad blocking effect by site owners.  You can expect new technology to be used in neglecting the advertisement blocking plugins you also will see the use of innovative alternative methods of delivering advertisements to users.

Security All Over

Mobile is becoming more popular by the day and this can have its own drawbacks. This is because mobile has become the new focal point for security issues. This year, and the future will see advances in security measures aimed at ensuring mobile is safer for users.

Improved Power Of The Browser

In the recent past, there have been significant developments in what you can do with your browser. There have been and emergence of different frameworks such as tracking.js and binary formats such as WebAssembly and this has positioned JavaScript as one of the main languages of browsers.

 

This has given more power to the browsers. It is yet to be clear which JavaScript frameworks and which tools will be preferred in this area. The one thing that is absolutely clear is that JavaScript has made its mark and will continue being important. It will retain its position as one of the most effective language in programming.

Bots Become Standard UX

Bots have been here with use for a while. The technology that exists today will make sure that these bots will get smarter and be involved in more activities. For example, if you sign up for a new Slack account, a bot will welcome and on-board you. The Slackbot will ask you for your name and automatically save it in the slack account and also ask you a number of other things. Keep in mind that this is not only about Slack. There are many bots that are emerging in most of the tools and apps we use whether it is WeChat, Telegram or Facebook. This is probably a new era, an era that we will see many bots that will make our lives easier.

We Can Expect A Lot

If you look at the web development trends 2016 you must know, and the current status of the industry, you will see that there is a lot on its way. Web developers are clearly dedicated to making the development process faster and easier. This is great news for anyone interested in web development or owns a website. These developers save time from their day-today activities to come up with applications and tools that will improve the user’s web browsing in future. You just need to keep an eye on new emerging trends that will make your operations easier and save you time.

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Website Redesign – 10 Important Points To Keep In Mind

By Derek Robinson

There are different reasons behind website redesigning and you already know why you are doing it. It is however important to note that the standards used in the redesigning process will always change. You might be in need of launching a new product line or updating your cooperate image.

 

If your website is in the center of your business, then you have to know that the redesign will have a noticeable impact. You will need to ensure that this impact is positive in all aspects. This is why you are reading this post.

 

The following are top ten points you should keep in mind when redesigning your website. This is a simplified framework you can use in your website redesign project.

1. Have Defined Marketing Goals

The first step is defining marketing goals that will form the foundation of the redesign. Websites are used for sales, lead generation, and customer support. Regardless of the use, you need to have goals and these goals should be tracked using KPIs (Key performance Indicators)

 

The most important Key Performance Indicators are the conversions because they show the relationship changes. When a user fills the contact form and becomes a sales lead, this is an important event.

 

The main aim is to ensure that the visitors on your website are taking actions that are geared towards benefiting your business. The most important conversion actions include signing up for newsletters, downloading marketing documents and purchasing products.

 

It is important to use supplementary KIPs for purposes of tracking the performance of the site. For instance, pay attention to the bounce rate because when it is high, this means that there are many visitors visiting a page and leaving immediately. This might be as a result of inappropriate content or content that is not appealing to your target audience. Other important Key Performance Indicators include the average pages visitors view per session, and the average time they spend on the site.

 

Establishing KPIs and tracking them should be done before the redesign process because they will assist in establishing the comparison.

2. Know Your Target Audience

In most cases, people think it is a good idea to define their audience broadly, but it does not make any sense to exclude potential business. The danger in this is that while you try to include everyone, you might end up pleasing no one. The last thing you want is a website that reads like anonymous letters from a company.

 

The idea is to make the website read like a love letter to your audience. It is important to get into their shoes and understand what motivates them, what they are interested in and what they are looking for. Speak to them in a language they understand and make everything straightforward.

 

The task is to create a profile for all your target customers and ensure that the profile describes their needs, motivations, and interests. This might appear like hard work buy as you will learn, it will eventually pay. Keep in mind that you should focus on middle-level management when you are selling to corporations because they are responsible for making decisions that affect the company’s choice.

3. Provide Relevant Content

The main reason why a single company can dominate search engine result pages is content relevance. To search engines ‘relevant’ indicate that users find whatever it is they are looking for.

 

To your website, relevant content is what your intended audience will find useful. This is the main reason why you need to go through all the efforts to know your audience. This should be followed by content that represents their needs. Ensure you get into your target customers head to understand what they want or need.

 

Know why and how they got to your website, the problems they are looking to solve, the complications caused by the problems, how you can solve the problems in a different unique way, and how they will feel if you solve those problems.

 

The bounce rate on your website is a good sign of whether your content is relevant. The higher the bounce rate, the more irrelevant the content on the website is. This is because the bounce rate is raised by the number of visitors visiting your site and leaving as soon as they get there.

 

Relevant content will lower the bounce rate and increase the conversion rate. This is good for your website and good for your business. This is why it is important to work on your profile and the website content.

4. Search Engine Optimization

Phantom, Pirate, Hummingbird, Pigeon, and Panda – Google has continuously released algorithm updates. These updates are aimed at rewarding websites with relevant content. For this reason, you might want to ensure you are in the list of website being rewarded.

 

A while ago, SEO was all about playing the system, but things have been changed by these algorithm updates. The plays and games no longer work because these algorithm updates keep getting meaner and friendlier to the users.

 

Today, SEO is about different practices that are aimed at ensuring that Google and other search engines can easily understand your content. A competent website designer will incorporate these practices when handling the redesign project.

 

Keyword research is the other important part of SEO. There are many tools available online that you can use to conduct keyword research and identify the terms that match the motivations and interests of the audience you are targeting.

 

When you are selecting the keywords, it is crucial that you select one keyword for each page on your website. You can then optimize the page by using the keyword in the URL, title and through out the page content.

 

The exact method of optimizing the page is a debatable subject. This is because Google does not provide information on how it ranks websites. You can take advantage of Google Webmaster to find the terms Google considers relevant.

5. Explainer Videos Can Help

Days are gone when people used to only rely on images and text to tell their stories on websites. Today, you get an easier way of explaining things through videos.

 

Explain videos are popular because they actually work. When you have a video that has been well produced, a great script and visuals that engage the audience will capture their attention and this is all that matters. Through the video you can explain what you are all about in a way that appeals to the audience.

 

With a video, you can showcase the personality of your brand and this is a good way to ensure that the viewers retain the information. Videos can help in increasing the conversion rates and in achieving higher ranks on Google.

6. Responsive Design vs. Mobile- Friendly

You know that you that your redesign should appear attractive on different screens and there are 2 ways you can achieve this.

 

The cheaper option of the two is a mobile-friendly website. This simply means that your website will work the same way regardless of the size of the screen in use. Your content will scale to fit smaller screens and this means that you need to use smaller images. Because there are some features such as drop-down menus that will not work on mobile devices and you need to eliminate them.

 

If there are more than 35% of your visitors accessing your site using mobile devices, you will need to spend a little more for responsive designs.

 

Responsive designs are website designs that will adapt to the environment. The images and texts will resize and realign depending on the screen being used. The unnecessary images will be hidden when the screen being used is small.

7. Analytics Utilization

You should at least be using Google Webmaster and Google Analytics. These services are free and are highly assistive. It is important to start by tracking your website before the redesign so as to identify the things that need to be altered.

 

Google Webmaster Tools are more important with search engine optimization. After the redesign, you should take a few months then check to see the keywords that are performing well. You can then continue with the optimization of pages that are underperforming. You can also introduce new pages that are based on keywords considered high-value.

 

You can track the Key Performance Indicators using Google Analytics. These should be the KPIs that you defined prior to starting the redesign process. These tools can also assist you in tracking your marketing campaigns among many other important aspects.

8. Marketing Automation

As you plan the redesign for your website, you need to decide on whether you need to invest in marketing automation. Some of the automation tools will cost you a fortune but based on the benefits they bring on the table, investing in them is worth every cent.

 

The marketing automation vendors will provide all the comprehensive toolkits which will give markers an easy time planning, coordinating, managing and measuring all marketing aspects and efforts online and offline. Normally, these vendors will give you tools that help in building and tracking your landing pages, growing email lists and many other processes.

9. Existing URLs Forwarding

The redesigning process might also include the elimination of outdated pages. The unfortunate thing is that the visitors that arrive through the legacy links will be welcomed by the 404 error Page. This probably means you have lost that visitor for good. And this is bad for business.

 

A good solution to this problem is the redirection of all legacy URLs to existing pages that have been redesigned and contain relevant content.

 

Start with a map to the existing web content. List all the URLs. If you are eliminating any of the pages during the redesign processes the server-side 301 redirect. This will help in sending the visitor to the appropriate pages.

10. Conversion Path Optimization

The first step in the website redesign process was defining the marketing goals. Just because the website is launched, it does not mean that the process is over.

 

Once the website is launched, and you have traffic on the pages, you will need to ensure that the conversion paths are optimized. This is a process that is geared towards making alterations to the landing pages for purposes of increasing website visitors.

 

When you think in the line of conversion paths, you will also have a chance to change the other parts of the website that bring the visitors to these landing pages. The optimization of conversion paths is part voodoo and part science and this is why this skill is in high demand. In most cases, a 1% change or less can have a huge impact on the results you get.

 

Now you know some of the important elements that you need to pay attention to when you are redesigning your website. This will ensure that your website is attractive and can keep the visitors glued to the content and convert them from visitors to buyers.

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Mobile Apps And Your Business

By Derek Robinson

Mobile phones can almost be classified as drugs because of the level of addiction involved. Most people are addicted to these tech gadgets which are evolving every single day. One of the most important evolution stages is when the mobile phone became more of a small computer than just communication device. Statistics show that most people check their mobile phones once after every few minutes and most of them go everywhere with these devices including to the bathroom and to bed. For this reason, you, as a business owner, should view mobile phones as effective marketing tools and here is some information how.

 

Ever since the introduction of iOS and Android systems on mobile phones, these gadgets can now perform tasks that were only left for computers. This means that they can handle complex applications which are geared towards making the life of the user easier and more fun. Today, there is an app for almost everything and this means that you will need to get into this business to attract the attention of consumers who are always looking for a new interesting application. There are many advantages of having a mobile application and it is time you enjoyed these benefits.

 

As aforementioned, consumers are always looking for applications that will make their life better and this is why you need to involve professionals in iOS and Android application. If you have an interesting mobile application for your business, you will not have to go through the stressing marketing process. Things will be as easy as, one consumer downloads and installs application on their phone, loves it shares with others and the others share with their friends. You will enjoy the effectiveness of consumers marketing your application. The key is to create an application that your target consumers will find useful.

 

Applications have the ability to increase consumer traffic to your business and this will gradually increase your profits. A mobile app also comes with different opportunities of making money and you only need to work with a team creative enough to incorporate all the ideas that will lead to more income. When your business is generating more income, then you will expand and this will only lead to more income.

 

Branding is easier when you are using applications. Since you will use all your branding and identity strategies in the development of a mobile application, you will put your business at a recognizable platform. The only way your business brand will become more popular is if people see your identity everywhere they turn and since most of them turn to mobile phones, then this is one of the places you need to be.

 

Because not all of us can create mobile applications, there are experts for this particular task. We have a team of application developers skilled in handling both iOS and Android systems to create applications that are not only interesting but also functional to help your customers in interacting with your business and improving the customer-business relationship. This is how your brand grows and buyers become loyal customers.

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