Archive for the 'Site design' category

The golden rule of website success

The Golden Rule of website success: Measure everything
I’ve met with 3 online businesses in the last 2 weeks that have all wanted to increase their online sales. None of these businesses were start ups and all are investing significant budget in online marketing. Yet all 3 businesses lack fundamental statistics about their online performance. A massive benefit of working in the online world is that it’s possible to measure everything that your visitors do…and doing most of it is free. So make sure you don’t break the golden rule and measure everything!

In the following post I’ll highlight a couple of actions that will give you the information you need to build a better online business.

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The cost of setting up an online shop

If you’re thinking about setting up an online shop in the UK, you probably just want to know the answer to the simple “How do I do it and how much will it cost?”.

Advice for making money online with ecommerce

There are as many different ways to sell your products online as you can think. However, what we’re after here is a simple answer, a starter for 10, not an exhaustive list of all the options. In this post I’ll give you a ‘stake in the ground’ that you can use to make some business decisions and get started.

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3 must-have plugins for setting up your business blog with wordpress

If you’ve installed WordPress for your business’ website, blog or news section, you’ll need to install some extra plug-ins to really get the most from this excellent software. They’re all free (although a donation is welcome) so install them right now.

Greg’s High performance SEO

Out of the box, WordPress doesn’t insert some common meta tags in your pages. Although the importance of these (specifically keywords & description) has been reduced since the early days of SEO, they still hold some value and it is just general good practice. This plugin has a wealth of features (and documentation) to help make your site a bit more Google friendly and to get it set up properly took me about 15mins. If you only have time to install one plug in, this is the one – it really is superb.

Google XML sitemap generator

To make sure that Google (and Bing and Yahoo!…) knows where all your pages are, you can submit an XML sitemap. However, editing the file manually every time you create a new post is a major pain. This plug in does the editing and submits the new sitemap to all the search engines automagically! Make sure that you take a couple of minutes to configure the plug in to get all the categories and tags that you want into your sitemap.

Wordtwit

There are a whole host of ways to integrate your WordPress blog with Twitter but this plugin gives you a couple of powerful features that are really slick. Once installed, you can create your own url shortening structure (now, that looks pro doesn’t it!) and you can track clicks from Twitter in your Google Analytics account. You can also restrict the posts that are tweeted by including or excluding a specific tag/category.

Pass multiple select values from your website to Salesforce.com

Apr 26 2010 Published by under Quick tips, Site design, Technote

If you’re integrating your website with Salesforce.com you may need to capture multiple select values. Unfortunately, Salesforce doesn’t accept an array of values (the way PHP sends multiple selects when a form is submitted) so it truncates the values it receives so only the first value gets through. I recently solved this issue when I was building a form for a client.

Salesforce needs a single

&var=val

pair for each of the values in the same select. So, we need to create something that looks like

&var=val1&var=val2&var=val3...

The php implode() function is very helpful here so we could just pass the array from the form to a php file and do something like

implode("&val=" $_POST['mySelect']);

It would be sensible to urlencode the values of the form data to make sure it arrives safely. So, we need to urlencode the values after they’ve been imploded. If we simply urlencode the array, we no longer have an array and it’s pretty useless.

To send data from the website to Salesforce, I pre-processed the data and sent the request ‘manually’ so my chain of events looked something like this:

Form on website >> php data manipulation >> php creation of POST >> Salesforce.com object

If you have any tips about integrating your website with Salesforce, please drop me a line.

Free professional website planning tool

If you’re planning a new website or an update to an existing site, its a good idea to think through what sections are going to be included and how the website’s going to grow over time. This used to be done with PostIt notes and a pen but the sparkly free service over at WriteMaps is so much easier and you don’t loose your afternoon’s work when the wind blows through the window!

Free website planning tool

Of course in this web 2.0 world its a free service, allows you to work collaboratively with your team and the interface is simple. Perfect!

Linkorama: WriteMaps

Improve site quality with free images

Aug 13 2008 Published by under Improving your site, Site design

If your site is looking a bit tired and perhaps rather dull, using a few images to break it up is a great idea. Typically, stock images can cost a lot to licence for online use, however a number of websites offer good quality stock images for free.

One of the most well known and a site I have used several times is Stock Exchange. The selection is good and the quality is certainly good enough for most projects especially if you spend a bit of time editing the images for your specific application. Make sure you check the licencing terms of any image you use as sometimes the photographer will require you to tell them where its being used (usually for interest sake more than anything else).

Another great source of images is searching through Creative Commons licenced shots. Flickr’s advanced search provides options towards the bottom of the form, for searching only those images which can be licensed (via Creative Commons) for use on your website.

Adwords advice