Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Google Punish Non Mobile Websites

 It's so very important to ensure that all websites are configured for smartphone use. If this is not the case, and you haven't got a mobile friendly website, then it's highly likely you'll get a significant drop in the way that your website is ranked in the Google search engine. This is not something you want to happen because it means you are paying for a website that is doing nothing for your business. It doesn't have to be this way. 

The best way to avoid this situation is to ensure that your website is built by an experienced professional who is up to date with the latest website building techniques and is well versed in the standard requirements of the larger search engine companies such as Google. The video below explains this situation well and makes it very clear what happens when warnings of this type from Google are ignored. 

 At Seaford Web Design we have a deep understanding of issues  which can adversely affect the success of your business on the web. When one considers just how expensive other forms of marketing are it becomes obvious that a website is a very cheap and efficient means of marketing your business and allowing new and existing customers to get in touch with you. We can safely steer you past the pitfalls involved in getting properly setup and ensure that you end up with a quality website that powerfully sells your message online and adheres to the correct standards. 

Don't hesitate to contact us for a friendly and informal chat about what we can do for your business.

A Chat About BT’s Little Secret

A couple of days back I got that sinking feeling when I realised that I needed to ring BT and actually talk to a human being over something regarding my telephone account. Their automated call system is something resembling an assault course and appears to have been contrived to keep you going round in circles until the will to live, or the will to finally make it to speak to a human being, just simply evaporates.

I like BT and find generally that they are a reliable and dependable company so this is no major criticism of the service they provide me with. Being engaged continually in web development a robust, high-speed connection is a must. So far, I've had no problems with working online via my broadband arrangements with them.

While Googling for a BT direct number I happened upon something rather useful, the BT Chat Support online service. Absolute lifesaver when you're short of time and need to actually speak to somebody, even if it is over an internet connection. You can access this service by clicking this link: BT Customer Chat Support.

And don't forget, for all your website building services, contact us at Seaford Web Design for a friendly, professional service that you can trust. Please also share this page with your friends using the share buttons below if you found this article useful.

How to Record Sound Being Played On Your PC

Ever been listening to something on your PC and thought how much you'd like to record the sound you were hearing? Imagine how useful that would be. This includes anything you are playing from the internet, such as Internet Radio, Vimeo or YouTube. 

Well actually, when you know how, it's a pretty easy thing to do. There a few ways of recording from your PC Sound Card but one very good way is to use free audio software called Audacity, which is an open source product. You can download Audacity and install it on your PC. It is simple enough to install by just clicking on the downloaded file and following the simple installation prompts. You can download it by clicking on this link: Audacity at SourceForge 

Once you have Audacity installed, click the appropriate icon to start the program. When Audacity has started, look at the area of the main menu, at the top of the Audacity window, for the input source selector, depicted by a microphone icon. We circled it in red on the screenshot below to make it easier for you to find:- 

When setting the microphone source selector you should select your PC Sound Card, rather than any onboard or physical microphone that might be available. This will channel the sound produced by playing anything on your PC to the recording stream, as we'll see shortly. Notice also in the screenshot above that the dropdown selector to the right of the speaker icon has also been set to the PC Sound Card. In most cases, just leave the centre dropdown selector set to "2 (Stereo) Recording Channels". 

So far so good. We have Audacity installed and have set up the dropdown selector to the correct source for your sound card. Now it's time to record some music so open up YouTube or any other website where you can play some music or some other kind of sound. All you need do now, at a time of your choosing, is to click the red record button below. You should start to see small spikes appearing on the two, blue stereo lines below. When you have finished recording simply click the stop button, which has a light brown, square icon in the centre. 

Often you'll find that recordings are a little on the quiet side but you can increase the audio volume of sound that you have already recorded by selecting "Effect" from the main menu then "Amplify" and enter an Amplification setting in decibels. Be careful not to hurt your ears by setting the decibel value too high so experiment a little with this. When you have your recording how you want it you can save it as a .WAV file. from the "File" option on the main menu. 

Audacity is an amazing little software package, especially bearing in mind that it's open source and free. It can do a lot more than the scope of this article allows me to explain here but there is an online manual available from the "Help" option of the main menu. It also has the capability to save sound to an .MP3 file but I will cover that in a future article. 

If you enjoyed this article and feel you learned something useful then please kindly take a look around our website and read about our Web Design Service here at Seaford Web Design

Please also share this article with friends who may be interested in recording direct from their PC Sound Card. There are share buttons for social media just below. 

Thank you for visiting our blog and reading our article and please do look in from time to time to see future articles on all sorts of things related to personal computers and web design.

Finding The Right Web Designer

Whatever You Do Read This Before You Hire a Web Designer

I'm constantly reminded of the minefield that is presented when one is looking to have a website built for the public internet. Let me add at this point, though, I get most of these stories from new customers about a previous web design agency. I might also add that I regard the term Web Designer to be a little inaccurate as it is only part of the process of producing a website. Web Developer is a more accurate term for this profession but Web Designer has fallen into common parlance with the general public at large. I have over twenty-five years of web development experience as a contractor and have developed systems for large corporate customers, ranging from Engineering Companies to Merchant Banks. So why is it then that I find myself in competition with people who very often have absolutely no experience in the IT Industry and, in truth, are little more than hobbyists.

A Web Designer Round Every Corner

It always amazes me how, soon as anybody needs a website, people appear randomly out of the woodwork offering to build the most amazing website on the planet. Yet when you check out their own websites, if they even have their own website, they consist of a bland HTML page with a solitary but overpowering logo style image, often in colours that would be better suited to a computer game from the 1980s. Don’t even get me started on their portfolios of previous work. Now don’t get me wrong, if a prospective website customer is happy for his mate’s nephew Johnny to knock up a few pages of HTML and host them with a mass market ISP, then that is his or her business. But the truth is, they should probably not expect too much in the way of business from a website that is built by an amateur. I have been frankly shocked to have found just how bad a reputation Web Designers have in general at a local level. Indeed most of my clients lately have come to me with a tale of woe, having been provided with a completely inadequate website by an amateur web designer who has managed to burn off all or most of their budget.

When The Rains Come, So Emerge The Frogs

So it seems, when some website business comes wandering by, the amateur web designers appear, like frogs emerging from their mud burrows after a protracted drought. So just who are these amateur, or hobbyist, web designers? I have built up three core profiles of these individuals from my dealings with unhappy customers. They are usually one of the following:-
  • College kids taking their first faltering steps in web development but claiming to be experienced professionals.
  • Adult computer hobbyists attempting to earn extra money outside of their day jobs but claiming to be, you guessed it, experienced professionals.
  • Local computer spares and repair businesses offering a web design service in amongst a plethora of general PC related services on their own, often inferior, websites.
And let's not forget those mass market ISPs advertising on TV, who offer a DIY website solution, but that little can of worms is for another time and another blog post. And so it transpires, in the above scenarios, that the trouble starts when there is a problem with the website. Johnny the student hides behind the father or uncle who recommended him in the first place. Frank the IT support worker is busy at work in his real job and he doesn't really know how to fix the problem anyway. Blue Sky Systems, the local PC Repair Shop are too busy selling PC accessories and curing viruses to even attempt to recollect exactly how they built a website the last time around. Lastly, just try getting coherent telephone support from the mass market ISP who sold you that DIY website solution. The truth is, none of the above types has an interest in growing a professional web design business with a good reputation. They are 'one hit wonders' and once they have your money, you are almost always on your own.

Giving The Industry A Bad Name

Are these amateurs a major problem to me? Well, not really as I generally have more work than I can easily handle, which is great for me. It’s just that I get to feeling a bit sorry for the people who use them first time round because they know no better and are vulnerable to individuals who claim to know more than they really do about website building. I am hoping that this article may save some of you who read it from a similar fate. What really irks me about amateur/hobbyist web designers is that they have given the industry a really bad name. This has been contributed to by another problem type and that is the small Web Design agencies who promise the Earth, charge a fortune, supply a substandard website then run for the hills with the money when something goes wrong. Worse still I have come across examples of agencies refusing to hand over domain names and website source code when the customer becomes fed up with a bad service and wants to take their business elsewhere. I am managing perfectly well to make a living out of professional web development. To be honest, though, not without some degree of self-sacrifice here and there and some gold old fashioned respect and care for my customers. Freelance Web Development can be demanding at the best of times. I am also to be found when things go wrong, ready to resolve any issues, often requiring that I work very long hours.

Professional vs. Amateur, What Is The Difference?

To many, it may appear that there is almost no truly professional marketplace for the small to medium sized business to go to get a website built. A website that will fully represent and service their business online. That, however, is not true at all. There are many small web design agencies offering a great service. It’s just that their marketing capability is sometimes not potent enough to get noticed over the numerous amateurs casually taking on business that seemingly falls into their laps on rare occasions through recommendation. So, come the time to get your business online, remember that the first web developer you are recommended to by a friend is, by the laws of probability, highly unlikely to be the best you are able to find. As a professional with a track record, I am going to contrast what I offer with some of the customer experiences I have been made aware of in the daily course of my business. Don't be fooled by a few bright graphics that conceal what lies beneath. This should enable you to tell the difference:- 

Seaford Web Design Ltd
  • Professional Experience: 25 years in the IT Industry serving corporate clients.
  • Business Premises: Dedicated Studio.
  • Company Website: Mobile Responsive Website featuring best practice techniques.
  • Development Platform: Latest web development platform and software tools.
  • Portfolio: Diverse websites featuring what is on offer now for new customers.
  • Hosting Platform: Professional ISP in Docklands with a high-performance network.
  • Problem Management: Highly experienced problem solver with hardware and software.
  • Search Engines: Offer Web Marketing at different levels to suit your budget.
  • Website Images: Royalty Free Images or Stock Images at Best Prices.
Amateur Web Developer
  • Professional Experience: None or limited, gathered from writing a few poor websites.
  • Business Premises: Bedroom or Storeroom of Computer Repair Shop.
  • Company Website: Often none or bland, amateur and uninspiring style of website.
  • Development Platform: Plain HTML Editor or old/pirated development tools.
  • Portfolio: None or possibly a clutch of similarly simplistic sites with a poor graphical layout.
  • Hosting Platform: Mass market ISP with no guarantees on bandwidth at peak times.
  • Problem Management: No problem-solving experience when tech problems arise.
  • Search Engines: No knowledge of, or rudimentary idea, of Search Engine Marketing.
  • Website Images: Often images taken straight from the web which infringes copyright law.
Here are some important questions to ask when employing the services of a web design agency:
  • Who will own and control the domain names? It should be you, the customer!
  • Where will your website be hosted and how fast and reliable is the parent hosting company?
  • What formal, IT Industry experience have the designers who are actually building the website?
  • How much time has been spent discussing your individual business needs?
  • How much attention has been paid to the business impression that you want to present online?
  • Are you happy that you have been consulted fully as to the eventual design of the website?
  • Have you been made aware of the costs involved according to the website package or deal selected?
  • How and when will the cost of design and development be paid?
  • How much will be charged per annum for website hosting?
  • What extra charges might be made according to website images that will be used?
  • Who will be producing the written web page content to be published?
  • Does the website include content management capability that enables you to update it yourself?
  • Will training be given in how to use the content management facilities of the website?
  • What is the hourly rate for changes to the website after it has been completed and published?
  • Is the website of a responsive design that will translate smoothly on mobile devices?
  • Will the website allow integration with Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter?
  • How much Search Engine Optimisation is included with the proposed website package?
  • If an E-Commerce site, what is the product capacity and range of payment gateway options?
  • What consideration has been given to cookie and disability legislation and content copyright issues?
  • Does the web agency have an offline development environment to avoid downtime during post-commissioning development phases?
  • What measures are in place to prevent loss of website content and product data?
  • Does the web agency have a contingency plan for a wholesale service failure of the parent hosting company?
These are just some of the important questions you should be asking of your website designer. There are of course many more but too many to list here. Above all, just as you would be as careful as possible before handing over your vehicle to a mechanic, be sure that you use a proven and communicative, industry experienced web designer to build your website. When internet users visit your website, they will decide in seconds whether to stay or leave so ensure that they can find it in the first place and, of equal importance, that they want to remain on the website and engage with your business. With the wrong web designer, you could be simply throwing away your money or, worse still, damaging the reputation of your business online.

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