CMS vs Custom Development

CMS vs Custom Development

In this day and age, Content Management Systems (CMS) are easier to use and more versatile than ever. WordPress, for instance, started its life as an intuitive blogging platform and evolved into a full-featured framework for robust, database-driven websites. In a lot of circumstances, content management systems decrease development time and help facilitate rapid deployment. However, I can’t emphasize enough that third party content management systems should not be regarded as one-size-fits-all solutions.

As website builders, it is our responsibility to ensure that we’re utilizing the correct software solution for the job; lest we create more work for ourselves by altering core functionality, or by adding new functionality that drastically deviates from the content management system’s fundamental purpose.

Furthermore, the design team should have intimate knowledge of how the given CMS works and interact closely with the development team to ensure that the design itself doesn’t introduce functionality that is not native to the software. In our experience, this lack of synergy between designers and developers is the number one cause of superfluous custom development that could’ve been avoided. Continue reading

Top 3 SEO Insights You Need to Know for 2017

Top 3 SEO Insights You Need to Know for 2017

Even if you know nothing about how search engines arrange the results when you conduct a search, you’ve probably at one time or other experienced results that are constantly in flux. As Google, Bing and other search engines work to provide you with the best match to your query, the search engines are constantly getting tweaked.

With many businesses now planning their budgets for 2017, we thought it would be helpful to show you the directions where the search engines are heading so you can reap the benefits of staying on top of things.

Even if you’re already part of a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program, you can still benefit by staying current on SEO trends. If your SEO program is with us, you can make sure your marketing objectives for next year align with what is trending and where we will likely be heading. If your SEO program is with another company, you can make sure they’re on top of these trends, and if they’re not, we’d be happy to discuss our different SEO packages with you.

So what should you look for in 2017? Here’s what we expect to see as we wrap up 2016 and move on into the new year. Continue reading

Why Custom-Built Websites are Better than DIY Websites

Why Custom-Built Websites are Better than DIY Websites

As the World Wide Web continues to mature, do-it-yourself (DIY) tools that allow people to easily create their own websites using drag-and-drop user interfaces, as well as pre-made themes, have become ubiquitous. While DIY tools and commodity themes can be beneficial for individuals or for a small startup, they can’t compare to a custom-built website designed for an established business.

So what can a custom-built website provide you that a DIY website builder tool can’t? How about a completely customized website, built specifically with your business or industry in mind? Continue reading

Take Heart, Google Penguin is Near - Header

Take Heart, Google Penguin is Near *Update* It’s here!

The long-awaited Google Penguin 4.0 seems to finally be reaching its launching point. Recent discussions with the Google team have revealed that they’ve been working on a launch announcement, and a date has been set to go live. Unfortunately they’re keeping the exact release date hidden from the public, since previous targets failed to hit the mark and frustrated webmasters.

What is Google Penguin?

Google Penguin is Google’s attempt to prevent artificially increasing a website’s ranking in the search results through purchasing links from link networks whose sole purpose is boosting Google rank, as well as through other unnatural linking schemes. Continue reading

What Can WordPress Do For You?

What Can WordPress Do For You?

By now, if you’ve ever spent any time searching for solutions to update content on your website, you are sure to have come across WordPress. WordPress is one of the largest content management systems (CMS) out there, and it is also completely Open Source, which means that it’s 100% free to use!

WordPress Content Editing Those features are nice, but you want to know how it can benefit your company. With a new setup, it is very clean, simple, and easy to use. The interface is streamlined to get you to what you need in as few steps as possible, and the organization of sections is clear as well. WordPress is primarily a blogging tool, which gives it a high focus on content, the ability to edit that content, and control over how that content is displayed, which is one of the main reasons many companies choose to move to a WordPress-based system. Past the blogging side though, WordPress offers you the ability to create pages with additional content, as well as control over the navigation of the site, so you can really customize which pages show up where, and under what main sections. This takes it away from being just a blog, but lets your WordPress site become a website for whatever solution you need.

Continue reading

Grow Your Business By Creating Your Own Story | Header

Grow Your Business By Creating Your Own Story

Here’s some good news for businesses: Media outlets are looking for your story, and when they run it, you’ll get free publicity.

Every newspaper has column inches that it needs to fill with copy and pictures, and every TV station has minutes of air time that it wants to fill with stories about local people who are succeeding in business or doing wonderful things for their communities. Continue reading

How To Set Up Google Experiments | Header

How To Set Up Google Experiments

Testing the landing pages on your website can have a profound impact on your business’s bottom line. Through small changes in text, design, and layouts, you can drastically improve the amount of time that visitors stay on a page, conversions, sales, or any other important area for your business.

One of the great things about using Google Analytics is how simple it is to jump right in and start experimenting yourself. In this blog we’ll walk you through setting up your own Google Experiment in just 6 easy steps. Continue reading

Email and Devices | Header

Email and Devices

Today more and more jobs rely on email. This becomes especially obvious when you go to a website and fill out a contact form and a short while later, a representative from that company calls you back. This happens because that form on the website is linked directly to an email account, and every time somebody fills out the form and hits submit, the form sends that information directly to that email account.

Let’s take a look at that specific email account, though. That email account is important. Not only does it have the information coming into it, but it probably is also filled with folders storing information from previous submissions as well as any business emails they send/receive with that account.

Continue reading

Querying by Distance in MySQL - Header

Querying by Distance in MySQL

Is your website doing everything possible to help your clients find you and get to you? One valuable tool that you can use to accomplish this important goal is to include a “Locations” page on your site. Suppose that your business is a chain of restaurants. In that case, a Locations page can tell customers which of your eateries is closest to the hungry person’s present location.  If you don’t yet have such a page, it’s definitely something worth considering, and here’s how programmers go about building it.

Typically, such a page consists of a search field that allows their users to provide a location, and then returns a list of nearby destinations sorted by distance, often accompanied by a Google Map.

Your only asset is a database table containing all possible locations with columns specifying latitude and longitude. When the user submits their location, you’ll likely utilize the Google Maps API to retrieve the coordinates from an address, which you can then use to compare against your database records. Continue reading

Sharp Innovations Client to be Featured on Fox & Friends Sunday Morning

BeBalanced Logo One of the nation’s most popular TV hubs every Sunday morning, Fox and Friends, will host current Sharp client, BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers, this Sunday morning. BeBalanced has contracted us for a full website redesign, plus several elements of programming (like the integration of custom franchise landing pages) and search engine optimization services. Further, this Sunday will be the launch date of the newly redesigned website; the Sharp creative team has worked around the clock and after hours to have the ability to “go live” for our client’s special air time.

See the new site herewww.bebalancedcenters.com

The BeBalanced Background

Struggling with weight is a reality for people all across the United States. Founder, Dawn Cutillo struggled with her own female-related health issues and inability to lose weight, and wondered what kind of impact hormones played on the constant struggle. Continue reading