PsWeb's Thoughts, Ideas, & Motivation to Website Development
PsWeb, is a WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT, company.
The reason we have made a big deal over this is because, we are not a web design company, so you supply us with the design, or rather what we would suggest is that you have a design agency do your design, then you supply it to us, and we will develop it for you. This idea behind all the one stop shops is not always the best solution.
Design agencies specialize in design, web development companies specialize in developing those designs - properly. Too often when you try to mix them into one pot you land up with stew. I have nothing against stew, sometimes it is really nice, you will however notice that most fancy or otherwise, restaurants never have stew on the menu, I wonder why.
The point that I am trying to make is that web development is very easy to do in it's simplest form, however to do it correct involves the use and manipulation of many very technically challenging tools, and concepts. At these higher levels of web development, we are no longer dealing with nice little easy tools, to draw a square, is no longer to select the square tool, and click and drag a square, instead it is all done through code, here is an example of how I would draw a square with Actionscript3.
var rect:Shape = new Shape();
rect.graphics.drawRect(0, 0, 100, 100);
As you can see from the above example, it is not English, it is computer programming. Similarly with design, it may look on the surface like just a bunch of good ideas and pictures randomly placed on a page to make it look really nice, whereas in reality, there are methods behind a good design, there is research that goes into how many words, should be on the page, where your companies logo should be placed, and so forth. This is all determined by market analysis and hours of brainstorming, in order for you to get a great, well performing design.
The answer lies within science, some people use the left side of the brain, and others use the right side of their brain, the one side is for creativity and design, the other side is for technical people, there are very few people who use both sides equally well. We have even made separate schools for people that are more technical than others, as they sometimes do not perform well in the general education systems.
So why would you want a company that offers both, you are basically paying for either a horrid design, or horrid development, however you are still paying for both. Why throw good money into something lacking, both are just as detrimental to your web presence.
I personally began work in the printing and publishing field, so I know many very good design agencies, if you would like I can suggest a couple, or if you already have an agency you would like to handle the design, then do that, and send it to me for development.
If you would like to hear me rant about my SEO (Search Engine Optimization) please look at the panel titled S.E.O.
S.E.O. (Search Engine Optimization)
PsWeb's SEO (Search Engine Optimization) offering.
First off before I begin I would like to direct you to a site that has some interesting reading on the subject http://www.seomoz.org/blog/seo-pricing-costs-what-should-you-charge-how-much-should-you-pay
Unfortunately for most clients SEO is some invisible, barely understood, concept that they pay for monthly, the client never really knows if the work has been done or not, the next issue is that the client never really gets honest information within their analytical data, this is generally not due to the SEO people but due to a general misunderstanding of analytical data.
I do not have all the answers, and am not ashamed to admit this, so what I offer you is not some airy sales pitch of how you will be ranked number 1 in every search engine, for every keyword possible, forever. That would be an unrealistic offering, so instead what I offer you and your company is as follows:
- Each page of your site will be keyword optimized for relative search terms, what I mean is that if your site is about dogs and cats, then the dog page would have keywords all relative to dogs, i.e. dog, canine, mans best friend, etc. And likewise the page pertaining to cats, will have terms that pertain to cats. These keywords will be chosen based upon keyword research tools, that will look at the frequency each word has been searched for within the various search engines for that given month, this is one of the many reasons that it is imperative to keep this up on a monthly basis as market trends change, so the keywords must change, if the site is not performing well on a given keyword, then it is wasted keyword and needs to be altered.
- Each page will have their own meta description, that will be relative to the page content. This is important to do correctly as the page description must accurately portray what the page content is. If there are 100 000 searches a day for the new apple iPod, it would be wonderful to say that your page is about iPods, and it will drive much traffic to your site, this will push up your analytical data, however when the user clicks on you page and sees that it is all about dogs and cats, they will soon exit your site. Unfortunately this is method many SEO companies will employ to drive up your analytical data, to keep you as a client.
- Each page will have their own page title, this is an important SEO tool, that gives much weight to your page rankings and positioning, again however it is important that it be kept up to date each month as we leverage analytical data to determine how your site is doing.
- Each page will have certain elements within the page that are used to leverage importance of various words, i.e. with the dogs and cats site, we would have the word dog used x amount of times based upon x amount of copy, so we keep to a percentage that is desirable to search engines.
- Each page will also use html tagging, i.e. an H1 tag in search engine terms means a word or heading of great importance, an H2 tag holds almost as much weight but not as much as a strong tag, and less than an em tag, this entire process is a balancing act of making your sites content as search engine friendly as possible while keeping an organic feel to the person browsing your site.
- ActionScript3 sites are not at all search engine friendly and although a widely known fact, not many companies will use existing technologies to rectify the problem, PsWeb will ensure that alternate content that will be viewable by search engines and by people who do not have flash player installed, to rectify the issue.
- Analytical data will be provided each month, this is something that is offered by many SEO companies, however it is another widely misunderstood practice, that SEO's use to fool their clients into believing their site is doing great, PsWeb feels that this only leads to cheating yourself, and will rather give accurate data, good or bad, so we may work at making it better.
- PsWeb will provide ACCURATE analytical data for both the Flash/Actionscript3 and xhtml sites in one, this is a method that is not often used, and when it is used it is often misused for the SEO's benefit of boosting your analytical data.
- PsWeb will not often recommend using tools such as Google AdWords, as this can be extremely expensive. In most cases at least R5 000-00 per month, but can extend all the way up to R100 000-00 per month. Although it is a great tool, we do not feel that every product can benefit from this marketing strategy, and would rather stick to remaining as organic as possible. Another option is using 'pay for directories' from time to time that would generally range in cost of R1000-00 to R2000-00 per year, this is far more approachable and you can rather benefit from that companies AdWord campaigns.
- PsWeb will always attempt to use validated markup, within the xHTML and CSS, we will also insert a validation badge on the site, once the markup has been validated. I feel that it is imperative that your site be as standards compliance as is possible.
- Where and when required PsWeb may make use of Canonical Link Tags, to better you S.E.O. link juice, and PR.
PsWeb would certainly suggest that monthly maintenance for SEO be carried out by all site owners, and that they will benefit greatly from the monthly investment, however we keep in mind that most of our customers core business is not internet related and therefore should focus upon additional sales generated from this service rather than rankings and AdWord campaigns. This is something that we feel can be achieved with a nominal monthly investment rather than the common misconception of the more money you throw at it the better it will get, as that only works when your core business is internet related. In other words we feel it is one of the few times where the term "You get what you pay for" does not apply. Mostly because more than half of the website owners worldwide are paying for this service and not getting anything for it except for pages upon pages of falsified data.
Flash Alternate Content (What is it, and how do I see it?)
Alternate content is, in basic terms, a way of adding any content you like to an alternate section of your website, this is in place to cater for people that do not have the newer style web browsers installed on their computers, or they do not have the Flash Player extension added to their older browser.
This technology allows a fall back, in other words, Jack wants to visit one of my sites, unfortunately he does not have the latest browser or plug-in installed, when the page loads, he will see the entire site, but not the stunning one, rather a lower grade site, it is still fairly pretty, well designed and developed, at this point, his browser will not even download the Flash content, it will only download the alternate content for him to see. Either Jack can continue using the site in this manner, or if he is interested in seeing the Flash version, he can click on the link within the site, this will then install the correct application from Adobe. Once he has done this, the site only needs to be refreshed and he will see the main version of it, again it will not download the alternate content this time, but only the Flash content.
The other big reason for Alternate content is that Search Engines, can not see nor index content from within a Flash site, therefore S.E.O is non existent. Obviously this is not an ideal situation, however search engines will not have this problem indexing your alternate content section. This way we can have the best of both worlds. There is no good reason I have come across as to why function has to suffer for beauty, or vice versa, you can have both.
If you would like to see alternate content in action, then just go to one of my sites, maybe Hippo Hollow and depending upon your browser, turn off your flash extension.
- Internet Explorer
Difficult Way - Click on the Tools menu, select Internet Options, select the Program Tab, click the Manage add-on button, select filters, select Add-ons that run without requiring permission, select Shockwave Object, click on the Disable button below. Now refresh the page, and you should see the alternate content, to reverse this operation follow all the same steps, but at the end click the Enable button, and your flash will come back to life.
Easy Way - Download a file called Toggle Flash from flash.melameth.com, install and use as directed on their site, more instructions can be found on www.howtogeek.com on usage.
Click on the Tools Menu, select Add-ons, select Extensions, find the one named Shockwave Flash, select it and click Disable, close the window, now refresh your web page and you should see the alternate content. To reverse this operation just follow all the same steps, but click Enable.
Click on the Safari Menu, select Preferences, select the Security tab, uncheck the box next to Enable Plugins, close the window, refresh your site, and you should see the alternate content. To reverse just recheck the box Enable Plugins
Flash is a default of the browser, you can not disable it at this point in time.
Website Development & S.E.O. Answers for your enquiring mind
Website Development and Design Questions and Answers
All too often I find that businesses that focus primarily on web related products do not give out proper contact information, if you would like to contact me with any questions you may have, it would be my pleasure to try an assist in any way possible.
Telephone: +27 (031) 762 1583
Mobile/Cellular: (083) 523 2146
Or if you prefer complete the online form provided on the Contact page.
Answers for some of the more common questions:
Q: I have heard that Flash sites are too large for bigger sites, is this true?
A: Yes & No, In general a normal Flash site, built with normal animations is very large, there are two sides to Flash, one is called the Flash IDE, this is the normal environment with timelines etc., this is where the majority of developers work, it is easier than the ActionScript side by a long shot. If I had developed the www.casterbridgehollow.co.za site in this manner, due to the size of the site, I could have easily used anywhere between 100-120MB, and that would have been unusable in terms of web. However it was all developed using pure ActionScript3 and this allowed the size of the site in total to be less than 8MB inclusive of all animations, pictures, etc. If the same site had been done using xHTML, it would have been a very similar size, because most of the sites assets are picture content, that would have been the same size for any programming language.
Q: I have heard that Flash sites are not Search Engine Friendly, is this a fact?
A: Yes, this is indeed true, however technologies such as swfObject allow us to use Alternate Content, this not only bridges the gap, but completely eliminates the issue. For more information please read the section titled, S.E.O.
Q: I have heard that Flash is not able to give analytical data, is this true?
A: Not entirely, Adobe worked closely with Google to put together a solution to this problem, so now Flash can communicate whatever data you would like to have to your Google Analytics profile, within the Event Tracking area.
Q: Is it true, that flash can not work with databases?
A: No, this is not at all true, take a look at this site, OnShow Guide, it is a site that I have been working on that uses a database to retrieve and update and create data with. Granted it is not as simple to use as say Dreamweaver, but it uses Php scripts to communicate with the database, and so does Dreamweaver to some degree, so the same can be achieved with a little extra work.
Q: Is it true that Flash is not widely used?
A: It is not true at all true, here is a quote from Adobe "Adobe® Flash® Player is the world's most pervasive software platform, used by over 3 million professionals and reaching 99% of Internet-enabled desktops in mature markets as well as a wide range of devices." This was true as at December of 2010.
Q: Is HTML5 better supported than Flash?
A: NO, take a look at this site, ishtml5readyyet.com, it has a cool counter, to count down the time until the HTML5 specification is final, we are talking about a decade or so.
Q: I read somewhere that Flash does not work well with mobile devices, how will this affect me?
A: Flash does not work on all mobile devices, it certainly has been made available on Android handsets, from version 2.2 (Eclair) and onwards. Whatever other devices it does not support use the alternate content instead, so they still browse your site.
Q: I heard that Apple hand held devices will not support Flash, What about my iPhone / iPad?
A: Apple is an awesome company, and though I will never understand some of their reasoning behind some of their odd quirks, this is true, it seems to be that they have flatly refused to support Flash, oddly enough they are pushing HTML5 instead, this in itself is a wonderful technology, however not very widely supported across multiple browsers, Internet Explorer, one of the most widely used browsers, can hardly even function with HTML5, they are only now releasing support for it, within Internet Explorer 9. HTML5 also has a fallback feature that will gracefully show alternate content to browsers that can not support it's features, just like Flash. In my view Apple has thrown out Flash support for something less common, less supported, and with fewer features than Flash, someone must be having a little fight behind the scenes.
Q: Is there any reason why I should choose an HTML site over a Flash one?
A: Yes, there are multiple reasons, first off if the entire purpose of your site is to look old, dated and ugly, then HTML is perfect for that. No really I am joking, the most common reason would be if your site is mainly for the mobile market, then there is not much point in going with Flash because your support would be less, so maybe 5% of the mobile users are Android, they will see it, but the others are going to be seeing your alternate content, so there is not much of a point. Secondly, if your primary goal is to get the site up and online quickly, then the extra time to develop the Flash and Alternate content may not be acceptable. Thirdly, 2 sites cost more than 1, so if your budget is tight, then rather have the HTML one, because it includes the S.E.O., if you opted to only have the Flash one, then you are going to be stuck with very limited S.E.O.
Q: What are your prices like, are you competitive?
A: Well, to be honest, it is difficult to say, knowledge is power, so I would not think that PsWeb is the cheapest, but they are certainly not the most expensive either. My children are not attending Private Schools, and I do not have a Ferrari, in fact I had to look up the spelling for that car, so I am not even close to getting one, I am certainly not trying to rip anyone off in the market, but I do believe that a man is worth his wages. The best I can do is try to explain this. If I took two slideshows with the same pictures and showed them to you side by side, they look exactly the same, and asked you which one you wanted, this one has a price tag of R10-00, and that one has a price tag of R15-00, you would either just choose the cheaper one, or you would ask why the other one is more money. The answer to this would be that the cheaper slideshow, will not download the pictures over and over and over again everytime you look at the one to the next to the next, so it would cost you less in web hosting in the long run, because your bandwidth useage would be less and it would not crash the users system if they left your webpage running all night, and the user would not use all their bandwidth loading un required junk over and over. Then you might pay the extra. The problem is that, this is like a car, take a BMW 3 series, the 2litre version and the 2.8litre version look the same, everyone who sees you driving behind them would not even realise you had paid more than the next guy, but you know the difference and you are happy with the extra power. Well web development is similar, because one company might give you a cheaper rate and your slideshow looks the same as my more expensive one, in fact the company that made the cheaper one, probably does not even realise that his code is running over and over, but it is, and only when you start wondering why your bandwidth is double what it should be per month, do you think that maybe you should have gone the more expensive route.
Q: How often do you think my website needs to be redone from scratch?
A: Personally, I am of the opinion that your existing website should have a complete overhaul every 2 - 3 years, to get the latest in technology, and keep your company looking fresh and dynamic. Here is the coca-cola logo from 1886 as an example, not very nice, but it was back then, but they have changed it about 20 times.
Q: Can I make alterations to my existing site that PsWeb developed?
A: Certainly, at an hourly rate, we will gladly make any desired alterations to your sites content, navigation, pictures, add info for any specials you may be running etc.
Q: Can PsWeb handle all my monthly E-News campaigns, or because it is so easy should I just do it myself?
A: To be honest, this is up to you, however in my opinion, you can either pay for a simple online solution that makes it easy to use for a person that does not have any idea how to code, to make their electronic flyers, or news look fairly nice, and be fairly functional. This would have a monthly cost to you of lets say, R1000-00 for 5000 e-mails. Now the second way you could go is to hand it over to PsWeb, we will charge lets say R400-00 per e-news, depending on what you require, however you would still need to pay for an online email solution, the difference is that the online emai provider will be cheaper as you are not paying for all this easy user interaction, but rather just for the advanced service iteslf, and because PsWeb knows how to code it, that is all you require, so in the end you will pay about the same monthly, but you will have to do all the work in option 1.