Preparing For The Future07 Mar 2015
The internet is almost unrecognisable from when I started GMAC Internet Solutions back in January 2002. The web is the fastest moving area of IT outside of internet security and the moment we relax we get overtaken. Here are some of the major changes we have implemented for our customers in over the last 2 years...
Responsive Design and Mobile Websites
We upgraded all our software to better handle Responsive and Mobile friendly websites. This was a complete overhaul of how we turn designs into templates and create our HTML and CSS. We also deployed server side libraries to detect devices and allow code changes to cope with them.
That means we cover every angle and have a lot of flexibility in how we make websites appear on phones and tablets. Combined with incredible technologies like jQuery we now have an amazing set of tools to work with. Over the next year I expect phone and tablet website browsing experiences to deviate from desktop experiences even more as developers like us cater more for gesture-based controls.
Google publishes webmaster and developer guidelines for how to set up a site to be SEO friendly. This year we have made significant software, CMS and server changes to make sure we meet all of Google's requirements. This gets your website off to the best start. If your site needs specialist help then we know the right people to call in. Nobody can guarantee you anything (even Google say that), but we'll give you the best chance.
Click below to download Google's official search engine guide:
On-line shopping and Email
Both on-line shopping and regular emails are important. We have been combining the two through our software so that sites which use both are more tightly integrated. This means your email can be automatically formatted to include flagged products, and each product has a direct link back to your website to purchase. We also added advanced features to our software like quantity breaks and member discounts.
For an example of an integrated email see:
We are big fans of credit card processing gateway Eway and have had built-in support for it in our websites for a long time. This year we added PayPal to our shopping software as well. That means you can offer either or both on your website. Paypal has some very exciting products coming soon - including buy now pay later (already available in the US) and improved mobile payments. We'll be keeping on top of those developments.
Social Media and Websites
Our social media integration is still unique and offers the tightest and most attractive way to include Facebook, Twitter or Blog content into your website.
We do not use iframes or "social plugins". For example, our code uses the official Graph API for Facebook so your visitors do not even need a Facebook account to access that content. The result is better "bang for buck" for your social media updates and more chance people will see them. It all works so well I am surprised we are still the only website developers doing it.
Being Safe in the Cloud
The internet is a dangerous place. Almost every week we read about a big name hack or security breach. This stuff is happening all the time and servers like ours are also a target.
We have started using a service called Cloudflare to protect all the websites we host. It acts like a bouncer at the door of a nightclub to protect your website from dodgy traffic and threats like Denial Of Service. It also has a network of cache servers worldwide that can speed up your website by up to 60% (according to our stats). Cloudflare is used to protect giant sites like 4chan from being attacked. We figure if it can protect them then it can protect us. So far it has not let us down.
For more about cloudflare see:
TV and Video
I now appear on a TV show called New Game Plus every Monday night on Channel 31 in Melbourne. It has been an interesting experience and has taught me a lot about video production and managing YouTube channels. Did you know YouTube is the second most used search engine on the internet? There are real opportunities there to promote companies and brands, but how it is done can be very tricky.
You can see some of my work at:
The Internet Is Serious Business
The internet is still like the Wild West and threats to and on it are all too real. I have been conducting a series of interviews about internet issues for broadcast on NG+ and as part of a web series. The first was about Data Retention and Metadata with Senator Scott Ludlam. The second was with newly elected Victorian Senator Fiona Patten about censorship, privacy and threats. In the new year I have more of these coming including advice on how to handle on-line trolls, copyright laws, the Trans Pacific Partnership, media, publishing and more. I have been able to line up some excellent and knowledgable guests so keep an eye out.
Every website we deploy has Google Analytics enabled. If you want to know how your website is doing then we have the answers right in front of us. We'll give you access as well so you can run reports on number of visitors, time spent on your website, popular pages, year-on-year comparisons, devices, and lots more. This is especially useful if you are running an SEO campaign so you can see what you are getting for your money.
On top of all that, we've put together websites that I believe are world class with incredible functionality, design and value for money. I look back on the work completed with a great amount of pride. It is an enormous amount of work to keep up-to-date but being able to give you the best advice and a great website makes it all worthwhile.
2015 is going to be exciting and challenging. I look forward to making it more exciting and less challenging for you on-line.