StormBiz Blog

Everything you need to know about website design, website hosting, graphic design, our website design courses and more...

Why a Website Design Speaks Volumes about Your Company?

very messy officeVery Messy OfficeWhether a business has just got off the ground or has been established for years, start-up and long running companies are looking to the internet to expand their sales, as well as service to customers. Many new websites are going up and with so many people opting to go with the cheapest route, or the quickest design process, sometimes the quality of a website gets left behind. Lets face it, you wouldn't want a possible client coming into your office, looking around at a mess, so why would you send them to your virtual office looking like one?

People very often go to a company's website to get more information, it is a lot easier and more convenient then calling them or writing them a letter. The first thing they see when they go to their site(that is, the first thing that pops into their heads) is either "wow, these guys are professional, I want to deal with them" or "their site is awful, how can they act professional if they do not look professional"(well that may not be everyone’s exact words, but you see what I am getting at). We all think this when we visit a website, haven't you ever felt a little bit easier or more relaxed when purchasing something off a site with a professional look? I bet you that if a site doesn't look professional then you won't even consider purchasing an item or using their service!

Script ErrorScript ErrorAnother important aspect of a website is how long it takes to download. A lot of people say if it takes longer then 30 seconds to download then people will leave. This is true. I know that even on a DSL connection, if a site is taking too long to download I will jump to another site. If your site doesn't download in at least 30-60 seconds for all users(dial up taking a little longer), then you need to re-design your site.

Your site must not only look good and download quick, it must work good. There is nothing worse then visiting a website with pages that haven't been created yet, script errors popping up and only half of the information seems to be there. This will definitely annoy anyone who is visiting your website, they probably won't come back for a while, if at all.

contact usContact UsAnother important aspect of a good website is allowing visitors to contact you in one way or another. A simple email address or contact form on a contact us page will do wonders. People like to know they can get in touch with you with just a simple click of the mouse. Make sure that there is a link to your contact us page on every page, including in your main navigation. This will give users a feeling of being close to you, as they can contact you at any time.

Use these tips as well as your own common sense and you will be well on your way to having a great Looking, Working & Downloading Website!

Give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ' to request a free quotation.

Continue reading
0
  1702 Hits
1702 Hits

The ‘Website’ CHECKLIST : Domains, Hosting, Web Design

webite checklistWebsite ChecklistThis article is meant for all who already have a website, or who propose to buy one. Website – the term is comprised of three things : Domain, Hosting (Web space) & Web Design

There are numerous companies offering these services. I am here to discuss a few points with regards to top, and essential things you need to thoroughly check when you get a WEBSITE through one of these companies.

 

Now to the article,

Every day, I get a few phone calls of this sort :

  • Sir, My domain expires in next few days, but the company which registered it is out of business, Please RENEW it”
  • Sir, I want to transfer the domain to your server, but I don’t have the domain control panel”
  • Dear Support Team, The domain is registered thru ‘X’ and his name is listed as REGISTRANT and Admin Contact, help me”
  • I have a website since 1998, but I am not getting any enquiries through it. So what’s the point in having it renewed ? “
  • My website is down most of the time, can you do anything about it? “

If you look at the above, you could observe the common problem. Thus, a checklist is required for any WEBSITE. Lets see one by one :

domain name checklistDomain Name Registration ChecklistDomain NAME Registration : CHECKLIST

Once your domain is registered, check these things :

  • Is the DOMAIN NAME Registered with an ICANN Accredited Registrar ? (Visit : www.icann.org )
  • Does the REGISTRANT NAME and ADMINSTRATIVE CONTACT show your name/email ?
  • Did the Domain Registration Service Provider give you the Domain CONTROL PANEL with username / password to manage/modify name servers & contact details in real-time ?
  • Do you have the OPTION to get REMINDERS at the time of RENEWAL, well in advance ?

Web hosting checklistWeb Hosting ChecklistWeb Hosting (Web space) : CHECKLIST

  • Support, Support, Support – is the KEY issue when it comes to Hosting. Check the response time of the Service Provider before making an option.
  • How skilled are the technical persons ? Just put in a few queries and see how they respond ?
  • Get a quick look at the Service Provider Website and make sure its professional looking, with user friendly navigation and layout.
  • Check if they have listed TESTIMONIALS, a list of sites hosted with them, discount options for bulk purchase, payment modes. Also make sure there are NO Hidden charges. The key part to look at is : the BANDWIDTH offered for each hosting plan.
  • Multiple Domains in single hosting space. This is an added advantage and saves you money. You can ask for this option if not provided.
  • Make a deep study on the Hosting Plan you choose. Check all the essential features that are provided. To name a few, POP3 mails, SMTP support, FTP Account, Control Panel, Web mail, Spam Controller, Antivirus, Web Statistics.

website design checklistWeb Design ChecklistWebsite Design : CHECKLIST

  • Does the website designer provide you with free minor updates or for a nominal fee on a yearly contract basis ?
  • Is the website professional looking and appealing to the global audience ?
  • It has been 3 months since your launch and there are NO fruitful enquiries and you are UPSET. Wait…..go to : www.google.com and put your website name and click search. Does it show up anywhere in the results ?
  • Does the website designer provide you with monitoring service ?
  • Does the website take a lot of time to load? Make sure it loads faster, even on slow connections. Too much of Flashy animations, bigger size jpegs are NOT an option for your site. CONTENT is King. Make sure your website ‘delivers’.

Give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ' to request a free quotation.

Continue reading
0
  1972 Hits
1972 Hits

Why The Heck Is Your Website Not Selling More?

hitting brick wallHitting a Brick WallIf you’re anything like most online marketers, or website owners, you’ve probably tried every tweak, trick and technique you can think of to get your website to sell more.

Maybe you’ve even had a few successes, and actually improved your conversion rates a bit.

Yet, deep down inside, you’re positive that your site is capable of so much more. You just know that with the right changes and improvements you could be converting a ton more visitors into buyers.

But the problem is... You’ve hit a brick wall and just can’t figure out what to change or tweak.

Perhaps it’s time you tried a new pair of eyes!

Think about it... You’ve probably looked at your website a thousand times. You simply have too much knowledge about your products, your company, what you do and what you offer, to effectively see your website through a first time visitors eyes.

That is where an impartial and independent evaluation of your website can give you a valuable, fresh perspective.

In many professions, getting an outside, second opinion is a common practice.

So how can you get an outside opinion about your website?

new pair of eyesNew Pair of EyesYou have several options for finding that “new pair of eyes”.

You can ask your friends and family to take a look at your website. They may notice a few details you’ve missed, like typos or other simple errors. The main problem with family or friends is that they are often reluctant to tell you what they really think, simply because they don’t want to offend you, or hurt your feelings.

You can post a message to an online forum or discussion group, asking for feedback on your website. There are even categories in some popular forums specifically designed to request feedback for your site.

This is often a better option than family or friends, because you tend to get a broader cross-section of opinions, and the forum members are less likely to sugar coat the feedback they give you.

But, there is one major draw-back to either method of requesting feedback... The input you get about your website from family, friends and even forum posters will simply be based on opinions or “feelings”, not on expert, tested and proven techniques, or advanced sales psychology.

talk to family and friendsTalk to Family and FriendsBasically... They may not know what the heck they are talking about!

Another method for getting outside feedback, is to conduct a survey of your existing website traffic. This is often one of the best options to get constructive feedback on how to improve your website.

I frequently help my coaching and consulting clients conduct surveys of their website visitors as part of their conversion rate improvement programs.

Your final option is to find a company or consultant offering professional website evaluations, or critique services. The benefit here is that, in most cases, a professional will give you a much more comprehensive evaluation of your website than you will get from friends, family or your website visitors.

However, the main problem with the “professional” route is that almost all of the companies offering this type of service are web design companies. So the “evaluation” you get is usually just a disguised sales pitch for a full website redesign.

(Not to mention the fact that most web design firms don’t have the first clue on how to convert website traffic into buying customers...)

But if you screen website evaluation providers carefully, you can find a few that will give you some outstanding recommendations.

Here are a few questions to ask anyone you hire to evaluate your site.

website testingWebsite TestingWhat is your background? (You want them to say they are marketers, not graphic or web designers, they need to understand sales psychology.)

Are your recommendations based on actual split test results? (Often the recommendations you will receive are based on theory or “one size fits all” best practices. Not on the results of actual testing, on actual websites.)

What kind of results have you produced for previous clients? (You want them to show you case studies or testimonials from clients who have achieved measurable results.)

How much time and money will it take to implement the recommendations? Is this just a sales pitch for some ten thousand dollar website redesign? (You want to make sure that the recommendations are going to be easy, and affordable for you to implement.)

Done properly, an outside, independent evaluation by a professional website evaluator, or conversion rate improvement expert, can significantly boost your websites sales. (As long as you take the time to make sure you’ve found a good one.)

So if you’re out of ideas for improving your site... Go out and get a fresh pair of eyes!

Give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ' to request a free quotation.

Continue reading
0
  1532 Hits
1532 Hits

Writing Articles With Style - Create Quality Articles With CSS

css cascading style sheetsCSS - Cascading Style SheetsWriting your quality articles using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), will insure that your articles will be both easy to read, and aesthetically pleasing to the viewer.

A CSS style sheet allows the HTML code for your articles to be cleaner, table-less, easily customizable, and "liquid."

Removing the display attributes of your articles from the HTML code allows you to concentrate on using the HTML for organizing your document's content.

When you use CSS, a new approach is possible to writing your articles for the Web:

* First, you write your article in a very basic HTML document, using simple HTML code. At this stage, use only the most common HTML tags. Focus on organizing your article's content first.

* Next, you identify parts of your document for special display formatting.

* Finally, you define the formatting in the CSS file.

Once you work through this process, you can re-use both the HTML document and the CSS file as templates for your future, quality articles.

This article will provide the tips, tricks, and sample code to give you a head start in creating your own quality articles, and templates using CSS. If this all seems complex and intimidating at first, don't despair--read on. I will explain the basic HTML and CSS terminology throughout the article.

basic HTMLBasic-HTMLTHE BASIC HTML DOCUMENT

The basic HTML document is divided into several sections: html, head, and body.

Tags are used to demarcate document sections, or "elements." Content lies between the tags. For example, the article you are now reading lies between the body tags of an html document.

Tags usually exist in pairs, a start tag and an end tag. The start tag is surrounded by less - than and greater than - angle brackets. An end tag is bracketed with the same symbols, but the first character of the tag is a forward slash (/). For example, HTML code for a paragraph element would include the start and end "p" tags with the content sandwiched between the two.

The basic tag pairs found in web pages are:

* html -- These tags tell a browser that this is an HTML document, and define the start and end of the document.

* head -- The head element can contain information about the document. Although the browser does not present the information to a viewer, the information can be "seen" and used by search engines.

* title -- The title tags define the title element that will be used by a browser for the document's title.

* body -- The document's content is placed between the body tags.

The first line of code in the basic document is the Document Type Definition (DTD). The !DOCTYPE tag tells the browser which HTML or XHTML specification the document uses. HTML 4.01 specifies three document types: Strict, Transitional, and Frameset.

basics html tags in web designingBasics - HTML Tags in Web DesignThe first meta tag in the basic HTML document provides information about how the page content characters are encoded, so that a browser can interpret them correctly.

If you want your articles to be widely seen on the Internet, you need to be particularly interested in the meta tags for keywords and description. These can be seen and used by search engines.

Use the "keyword name" and its related "content" in a meta tag to list your keywords or keyword phrases.

Keywords ought to be appropriate for the article content. They should also reflect what internet surfers actually type into a search engine's query box when hunting for the information you are offering.

Keyword research is a study in itself. Freeware is available on the Internet that can help you determine the best keywords to use in your article and keyword list. Keywords or keyword phrases within the meta tag need to be separated from each other with a comma.< />

Although not all search engines will utilize the description meta tag for their search results, you still need to include a good description for those that do.

If you had just a few characters to describe your article, or to entice a surfer to select yours from the results of a search, what would you write? What you would write is what should go into the description.

css website planningCSS Website PlanningUSING CASCADING STYLE SHEETS (CSS)

I have already suggested several reasons why today's preferred method of creating web pages is to separate a page's content from it's display properties. It's time for a demonstration of how this can be accomplished.

In the past, HTML tags included attributes to define how the content was to be displayed by a browser.

Today, CSS is used to concentrate these attributes in a single, separate file. Simple HTML code specifies "what" content is to be displayed; the CSS code defines "how" the content is to be displayed.

Before CSS can be used to format an HTML document, the name and location of the CSS file must be known to the browser. The browser gets this information through the HTML "link" tag that is coded between the head tags.

Once the CSS file is linked, the browser will check the CSS file for display attributes. For example, if the browser encounters an "h1" tag in the HTML code, it will check the CSS file for "h1" formatting. Here is the "h1" formatting information I included in the article.css file I use for my article titles:

When a browser encounters an "h1" tag in the HTML code, it would display the title centered and maroon.

HTML content formattingHTML Content for FormattingSELECTING CONTENT FOR FORMATTING

Content formatting can be applied to an HTML document only after the content to be formatted has been identified to the browser. An easy way to do this is to place a "class" or "id" attribute within a start tag. The same class name can be used many times on a web page; each id name should be used just once per page.

Once content is identified, the class or id name can be referred to in the CSS file and the browser will apply any formatting attributes found there.

Selections Using Class Names

As an example of using the class name, I used the following CSS in an article about writing ad headlines. In the HTML code, I used divisions tags with a class name of "headline" to demarcate the headline text. I added the following code to the CSS file:

.headline

{

font-size: 24px;

color: red;

font-weight:bold;

text-align:center

}

HTML and CSS CombineHTML and CSS CombineIn the CSS file, I specified the font-size, color, font-weight, and text-align attributes. The class name was added to the CSS file by preceding the name with a period. I used a semicolon to separate attributes in the list. The HTML and CSS code combine to produce a bold, 24px, red headline centered in the HTML page.

It should be noted that there are some basic HTML tags that are their own class names, and do not require a preceding period in the CSS file. These include p, h, body, li, and others. That being said, these tags can be modified by appending an additional class name to them. For example, if I wanted to make the next paragraph blue, I could add a "blue" class attribute to the opening HTML "p" tag and then add this code to the CSS file:

p.blue

{

color:#0000FF

}

This would be a blue paragraph if this HTML were displayed in color.< p />

Selections Using ID Names

The CSS syntax for an ID is a little different from that used for a class. In the CSS file, ID names are proceeded with a pound sign (#). The example below "floats" my 288px by 59px logo image to the left of the following paragraph: the text flows around the image. I added an ID attribute with a name of "logo" to the HTML "div" start tag I used to demarcate the image information. Here is the CSS code I used:

#logo

{

float:left

}< />

span tagsSpan TagsThe HTML and CSS code would combine to produce the following results:

~~~LOGO WOULD FLOAT HERE~~ Text here would flow around the logo.< />

Selections Using Span Tags

If you want to format just a bit of content, you can use span tags

In the article.css file, I defined a background-color attribute for a "highlight" class that will put a yellow background behind selected text. For the next paragraph, I used span tags to bracket the text, "separate attributes." Here is the CSS code:

.highlight

{

background-color:yellow

}

As a result, and if this were in color, the phrase "separate attributes" would be highlighted with a yellow background.

LOOKS AND LAYOUT

A careful selection of the "global" characteristics used for the body element of your web page will insure that your articles will be both easy to read and aesthetically pleasing to the viewer. These characteristics include font, font color, page background color, and page margins.

I use the "body" code in the CSS file to define the default body display attributes. Here is the CSS body code from the article.css file:

body

{

background: #fffef2;

color: black;

line-height: normal;

margin: 3% 25% 3% 25%;

}

font familyFont FamilyFonts

In the CSS body code, I specify the font family I want to use. The first font listed, Verdana, will be used by a browser if it exists on a viewer's PC. If Verdana is not available, the other fonts will be checked, in order. If none of the specific fonts are available, the browser will default to any available sans-serif font.

If you use a commonly available font/font-family for your articles, the chances are good that a reader will see the article as expected. Otherwise, your article might not look the way it should.

Verdana was designed for easy readability on computer monitors and, for this reason, is my font of choice. Since Verdana is commonly available on PCs, using this as the default font will also increase the likelihood that my article text will be displayed as I intended.

Page Background

I set the background color to a light color, the font color to black, and the line height, or spacing between lines, to normal. The background color I like to use (#fffef2) shows colored text and graphics to good advantage.

Margins

I like to adjust the article on my page to show content in roughly the middle half of the page. I think it is easier for the eye to process than content that goes edge to edge. I use the CSS margin attribute to adjust this. The margin attribute defines the top, right, bottom, and left margins respectively (margin: top right bottom left).

In the CSS body code above, I set the left and right margins to 25% of the available display width. Using 25% places about 60 characters per line of text on my 1024x768 pixel full-screen display. I also set a small 3% margin above and below the content.

Lists

If you use a list in your article, you can use the CSS file to customize the way your list looks. Two important considerations of list design are the list bullet and the spacing between list elements. The example below shows how to change the bullet graphic and element spacing of an unordered list:< />

li

{

list-style-position: inside;

list-style-image: url

http://www.elizabethadamsdirect.com/articles/images/small_blob.gif);

list-style-type: none;

margin-bottom: 1em

}

I added two list attributes to customize the list:

1. list-style-image - used to specify the URL to a bullet image (not shown below), and

2. margin-bottom - used to provide some extra space between list items.

For a complete description of possible list attributes--as well as great tutorials on using HTML and CSS--you can visit http://www.w3schools.com

HTMLHTMLEntity Names

Some characters have special meaning in HTML documents. When you want to use these characters in your text, you can use their "entity names" to prevent browsers from misinterpreting them for HTML code. I used entity names extensively for my web version of this article to display many symbols, particularly in the code samples.

Most commonly, I use entity names in my HTML code for quote marks. By doing this, I get the look and feel I want in my text when I use quotes. For example, when I want to use distinctly different left and right quote-marks in my web-based titles and headlines, I use specific entity names to do so.

Careful attention to the entity names you use can add "that extra touch of class" to your articles.

For HTML 4.01, there are entity names for both ASCII and extended characters and symbols. I use an entity name to insert a copyright symbol at the bottom of all of my web pages. You can find a complete list of entity names at w3schools.

I use Dreamweaver 8 for my HTML and CSS editing. With Dreamweaver, I can validate my code as I write it. I have optioned the validator to warn me when entity name substitution might be appropriate.

Validating Your HTML and CSS Code

I like to write valid HTML code for the "!DOCTYPE" version I use. If you click on the w3 validation icon at the bottom of my full-color, web-site version of this article, you will see that the HTML code for the article is valid and error free. You can use the validator accessible through w3schools to check your code, too.

web content writingWeb Content WritingCONCLUSIONS

When you separate your article's content from the code browsers use to display your article, you can focus on using simple, basic HTML code to organize your content. A Cascading Style Sheets(CSS) can accomplish the separation.

A CSS style sheet allows the HTML code for your articles to be cleaner, table-less, easily customizable, and "liquid."

You can look at one of my recently published articles to see the results of using the techniques outlined in this article. The article is "Profitable Ads: How to Write Ads that Pull."

Sincerely Yours,

Elizabeth Adams

 

Give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ' to request a free quotation.

Continue reading
0
  1732 Hits
1732 Hits

Happy New Year 2021

newyearstormbizOne of the greatest joys of this season is the opportunity to say thank you and to wish you the very best for the New Year 2021.

Thank you so much for supporting our business in 2020. We are looking forward to serving you again in 2021!

This coming year is the perfect opportunity to get your business back on it's feet after the disastrous year behind us.

You need to get your business out there in these trying times, so that people can get to know you, and know what you are offering.

Whether you need a website, website re-designed, good marketing, or any problems you encounter with your business website, or marketing, please make the decision today to get the help you need, and which we offer.

Make the decision today, and watch your business grow.

Give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ' to request a free quotation.

Continue reading
0
  394 Hits
394 Hits

Calendar

Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar

Latest Blogs

Reward Credit

Login/Register for credits