The Infront Blog
Ok, we're a tech company, so we're not talking about strangely colored trees on the world's longest river, but we are talking about something that is just as interesting to our client and to our web development team. This story tells of our approach to solving the problem of importing Amazon's products into the SiteWorks ecommerce database to save time and money in creating a great website.
We are happy to announce that we are moving office locations! We've been searching high and low across Colorado Springs and found a great spot on the North East side of town on Academy Blvd. You may be familiar with the location: we'll be on the second floor of the north building in the Emerald Plaza office complex, right across the street from the Target near Montebello/Academy, and right next door to the "Texas T-Bone Steakhouse."
I've been writing blog posts on and off since 2009, and it's been a fascinating experience. I've watched as I've seen how blogging is an acquired skill; one I've become better at over the past year or so. I've learned how to pick better blog post titles than when I first started, and I've learned how to chop complicated ideas into (I hope) fairly concise posts that summarize an issue or concept quickly and in a simple manner. And I've watched as the traffic on the websites I blog on have jumped with organic search traffic because of it.
Earlier this week, I gave a talk at a Business Growth Summit that I titled "Beyond SEO: What to do with Your Website Visitors." It was a really fun event and I had more people attend my session than I expected, which was great. I shared a lot of information during the presentation, and had a videographer record the entire talk, but that won't be ready for a few days. So in the meantime, I wanted to post here a checklist that I shared with the audience at the talk: a checklist to help you make sure your website doesn't suck.
I recently watched a video called "Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview," which has some never-before-seen footage of an interview with Steve Jobs from 1995. I must say, I have watched dozens, or maybe hundreds of hours of Steve Jobs' talks, keynote presentations, interviews, and more, and I think this one stands out among many as what may be the most valuable.
It's interesting for a few reasons. For one, it was recorded after he had left Apple, when he was the CEO of NeXT Computer and Pixar. It's also interesting because of the predictions he makes way back in 1995 that were absolutely right on the money, particularly regarding the Internet.
This is part two in a series of three blog posts called "The Melody Fusion Story." We are excited to announce that we have finally launched the Melody Fusion website! It's an online band promotion website where musicians can create a free account to spread the word about their music, increase their following, and connect with other musicians.
Amanda Obringer is our Senior Web Designer and has worked at Infront Webworks for over three years. Today we decided to ask her a few questions about the web design field and her approach to design in general.
Is your business seasonal at all? Sometimes we build websites for businesses whose websites see seasonal spikes in traffic, and it's always important to make sure that we're prepared for those sudden traffic increases.
Ron Stauffer, our Marketing Director, will be a featured speaker at the upcoming Revenue North Business Growth Summit at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on April 18th.
Working in the web design field is wonderful. Nearly everything we do is electronic, so we're not constrained by traditional barriers to business such as shipping costs, geographic limits, sales taxes, fuel prices, and other challenges when selling "physical products."
One of the more common questions I hear when discussing traffic reports and analytical data with clients is "is my website's bounce rate too high?" That's a great question, and here's my quick answer: it depends. There are a lot of factors that go into a good analysis of a bounce rate. Answering a question with a question, I like to respond by saying "high compared to what?"
For the record, a "bounce" is when a visitor shows up on your website and then immediately hits the "back" button on his or her browser without looking further or clicking anywhere on your website. A "bounce rate" is the percentage of total visitors that come to your website that then bounce off of it.
Did you watch the Super Bowl TV commercials? Watch as this video explains one of the biggest benefits that television ads just can't compete with.
Now that 2012 has come to a close, I'm really excited (I admit—I am a total nerd) because I can now analyze the traffic reports from last year for our clients. Every week, I spend hours poring over detailed website traffic reports, finding out how many visitors a website received, how long the visitors stayed on the website, what they clicked on, how they found the website in the first place, and much more. But aside from my weekly analysis of a website, I also like to look at entire years as a whole to watch for major trends or patterns of user behavior.
When we have intital discussions with potential website clients, one thing we always talk about is our Content Management System (CMS), called SiteWorks. SiteWorks is a CMS we built ourselves using an open source web development framework called Ruby on Rails (often shortened to "RoR").
People who aren't familiar with web development ususally say something like "Ruby what?" with a chuckle, because it sounds like a cross between candy and an amusement park ride. People who are already familiar with web development will also ask about it, but the question they ask is "Why Ruby on Rails?"
Ahhh.... Google Analytics—this favorite tool of marketers is easily installed, offers incredibly valuable data, is free, and yet is becoming more and more frustrating for businesses to use and extract data from.
At Infront, we preach that the "findability" of a website is one of the three critical elements of a successful website - you MUST factor in effort and budget to make your website "findable". For many websites, Search Engine Optimization is one of the most effective strategies for getting visitors to a website. But people keep asking me why it's so expensive. Here's why.
October 1994, 18 years ago, marks the beginning of Infront Webworks. Infront has seen a lot of ups and downs (mostly ups) in those 18 years, but it's going strong in the present and looks for growth in the future.
The history of Infront, to some extent, mirrors the history of the internet as most of you know it. Take a minute to explore our past and see how we've grown along with the internet.
Over Labor Day weekend, a big event took place in Colorado Springs that drew hundreds of people from all over the country, and even a few people from outside the country—the Colorado Balloon Classic. The Balloon Classic is an annual hot air balloon festival that just celebrated its 36th year, and is the longest continuously-running hot air balloon festival in Colorado. The Balloon Classic group also happens to be an Infront client: we built their website (www.balloonclassic.com). They are a great bunch of folks, and we've really enjoyed being a major sponsor of the event for several years.
So Anheuser-Busch came out with it's famous, and successful "For all you do, this Bud's for you," advertising campaign in 1979. It makes sense - giving someone exactly what they want, personalized for them, as a reward for their efforts. But sometimes we have to say, "for all you do, this website's NOT for you."
I can't tell you how many websites we've built that were amazingly beautiful (credible) and functional (usable) and that failed miserably. The client came to us with a great idea - something unique, useful and IN DEMAND! People wanted what they had to deliver! But still the site failed.
In the course of educating prospective clients on what makes a successful website (see my blog post on "The Big Three" in website design), I'm often asked (and sometimes ordered) to use WordPress for the website's content management system (CMS). I hear, "everybody's heard of WordPress" (see wordpress.org for more info) and, despite not really knowing anything about it, some people seem to think it's the best thing since oxygen (better even than sliced bread). But I'm here to tell you about a GREAT alternative to WordPress.
Cloud computing is one of the least understood, but most widely used services on the internet today. The cloud is used by people both at work, at home, in their cars, and anywhere else an internet connected smartphone is used. So, what is the cloud really? What's it's history? How does it work? How is it used? Read on to have these questions and more answered.
One of the hardest concepts for people to grasp when considering SEO is the fact that search engine rankings are not "static," and that your website's rankings for a particular search term may go up or down over time. Usually, the amount of traffic you get from a search engine changes when your website's ranking changes, so it's reasonable for people to be concerned about ranking changes that affect their website.
Sometimes, potential clients come to Infront for internet marketing and they'll say something like "I need help with my website. I can't understand what happened... My website used to be number one, and now it isn't anymore—I didn't make any changes to my site."
We all hear the hype about content these days. The popular saying "Content is King" can be heard ringing from many a marketing blog and Content Strategist has become a very real profession. Content is good for your users, good for SEO and it's the "meat" of a website. So it seems strange to me that I often go into design kickoffs where the website content hasn't yet been considered... at all.
Pinterest has quickly become a social media giant, with users actively spending hours pinning pictures from sites to online boards to keep and share all in one place. If your company is not currently on Pinterest, it may be time to get "on board".