Category Archives: Blog
Posted on July 19, 2012 in Blog, Uncategorized by Baycentric
If your website doesn’t have a content management system, you are missing out on one of the greatest pieces of your overall web presence. A CMS can reduce costs, help you optimize your site and give you the freedom to make changes that work for you.
First, let’s define our terms. A content management system (or CMS) is a system that allows you to do a number of things. A CMS can:
- Allow a number of people to contribute to and share stored data on your website
- Allow a number of people to add or edit content and reduce duplicate input
- Improve overall communication among the system’s users (you can control who has access to it)
The best reason for a CMS, however, is that you can add or update content when you want to, not when a web designer is available to do the work for you.
Here are three reasons why you should consider adding a CMS.
- Save money. Before a CMS, you would call or email your web designer when you need something updated or fixed. They might update a photo gallery for you or do something as small as fix a spelling error. These tiny fixes result in a bill to you. If you have your website on a CMS, you can make these changes when you need to and in cost-saving fashion. Your web designer avoids little bits of unchallenging work and you avoid the bill.
- Optimize your site. If search engine optimization is important to you (and we know it should be), having a CMS can help you to optimize your site much better. You can add content more frequently, which is a happy moment for Google, and you can update photos and other elements of your site often as well. These are all prized by Google.
- Gain some freedom. When you have your site built on a CMS platform, you can make tiny changes on your own. You don’t have to try and explain to your web designer via a phone call or email what you want and hope that it gets done to your vision. Instead, you can hop on when the time suits you and make the changes yourself. Best of all, you can do this anytime, whether you’re at your lake home on vacation or sitting on your couch in front of the television.
Making this change doesn’t have to be difficult or painful and the benefits are substantial. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of a content management system for your own site, contact us at Baycentric to schedule a free consultation.
Posted on June 11, 2012 in Blog by Baycentric
Imagine having a cell phone or mobile device that cannot get online.
Imagine a computer than cannot get on the internet.
Imagine a world without WiFi.
The internet becomes a hot commodity in a sort of apocalyptic adventure…in real life.
If these scenarios sound like science fiction, keep reading.
The internet is running out of space. Having been created in 1973 and launched in 1983 as an experiment, the internet wasn’t designed to be a worldwide sensation. In fact the people behind the first versions weren’t sure how much space it needed; what if the internet is a fad? Turns out they were wrong about it being a fad.
Turns out they were wrong about 4.3 billion internet addresses being enough to sustain internet usage. While it may have been enough space in 1973 or 1983, by 1996 the world needed 340 trillion trillion trillion internet addresses – yes that’s three trillions or 340 plus 10 to a really big power. That STILL wasn’t enough IP addresses to support the growth.
IP addresses are finite like phone numbers so the internet has experienced upgrades through the years.
On June 6, 2012 Google and their internet partners launched IPv6 which will allow for the internet to continue expansion around the globe…at least for now.
Posted on May 1, 2012 in Blog, Uncategorized by Baycentric
With thousands of websites competing for our attention, it’s important that those striving to have a great website make it stand out. There are many things you can do to make your website more readable, more interesting and more likely to provide real value to the visitor.
Here are 10 tips for improving your website.
1. Increase the “scanability” of your pages
In general, most of us scan websites. We have short attention spans and we want information quickly. If you want visitors to stay on your website, you want to make it easy to scan. Use numbers, bullets and other design elements that keep the copy easy to read and easy to scan. In general, readers love lists and similar elements that quickly and easily draw the eye across the page.
2. Keep your copy concise
Make the first few words of each page really count, or you can lose readers quickly. Also, use a journalism technique called “inverted pyramid”, which places the most important information at the top of an article and less important information lower in the article.
3. Stress benefits
People head to your website to see what you can do for them. Stress what you offer that is beneficial to them. Do this in an easy-to-read way that is concise and easy to scan and you have a winner of a website!
4. Keep links descriptive
In general, don’t provide a one-word link or a hyperlink on a word that has little meaning to the reader. Readers want to know where they will be taken, so be as descriptive as possible when creating links. There’s no need to be wordy, but be generous enough with the information that the reader knows where he or she is going.
5. Add a search option and always link to home
If your readers don’t know where they are going or how to find what they are looking for, they will look for a search feature. Give them one so they can type in what they are looking for and find it. To that end, have your logo on each page of your website and make sure that it links to home. If readers get confused or off track, they know they can always click on the logo and go “home” to start all over again.
6. Make meaningful page titles
This is no time to be esoteric. Make page names that mean something to you and to the reader. Simple titles like “services” and “about us” are sufficient and will serve your website’s purpose well.
7. Play the “above the fold” game
Newspapers know well the value of putting the most valuable copy “above the fold” of the newspaper. Often people don’t turn the paper over to see what’s below the fold, but they will read everything above the fold. Use this technique by putting your most valuable copy at the top of your pages, or above the point where people will need to scroll to keep reading.
8. Use visual elements strategically
People like graphs, pictures and other elements that help to add value to content and make it easier to read. Stay away from stock photos, however, as some studies have shown that people place little stock in them. But good photos, graphs and visuals that educate and inform are always welcome and add great value to the readability of your pages.
9. Provide a consistent message
Think about style. That is, do you want to capitalize certain words that tie to your product or industry? If so, create a style that readers can come to expect. They will know that word or phrase will always be capitalized. It’s important, however, that you consistently do this. As well, read through all copy on your web pages carefully and make sure that the overall message and style is consistent from page to page, even if different writers created different pages.
10. Look at it like a visitor
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own projects that we forget that others are looking at them, too. Leave the backend of your site now and then and look at it the way a visitor sees it. Would you continue reading? Would you want to know more about your product or service? Would you ask for more information, purchase a product or call to make an appointment?
Improving your website is really about simple fixes that add to the overall look and readability of the site. Even without technical knowledge, these are changes that anyone can make. The benefit of making the changes will likely be more than worth the effort.
Posted on January 25, 2012 in Blog by Baycentric
WordPress is a well known, open source content management system that powers many different types of websites. If you’re looking for a SEO-friendly system for your business, here are the top 8 reasons why WordPress will benefit your website.
1. Content Management
At its core, WordPress is a versatile content management system that provides you with many different ways to manage your content. You can easily update your blog posts and pages without needing technical knowledge.
2. User Friendly
WordPress makes it simple for anyone to log in and immediately understand how to use the system. WordPress has a low learning curve that allows you to quickly deploy your website!
3. Search Engine Optimization
WordPress has many features built-in, such as permalinks, which provide an immediate SEO benefit. SEO plugins are also available to further enhance these features.
4. Frequent Updates
The WordPress creator, Automattic, releases updates, security patches and bug fixes on a regular basis. New features are constantly being added to the system.
5. Theme Selection
Even if you have never designed your own website before, WordPress has countless free and paid theme options to customize the look and feel of your site. Website developers are typically well versed in the WordPress platform, giving you many choices for custom designs.
Thousands of plugins are available for the WordPress platform, making it easy to enhance the default features of your WordPress site. The most common plugins are used for twitter feeds, contact forms and newsletter subscriptions.
WordPress can be used for websites beyond a standard blog. The templating system also works well for business, magazine, portfolio, and landing sites.
8. Third-Party Application Support
Many different third-party companies create ways for their API to interface with the WordPress platform. These add-ons extend the basic WordPress features and can transform it into a full-fledged store, by adding payment processors or extending the gallery features.
Don’t have time to set up your own WordPress site? Don’t worry our experienced team is happy to help, contact Baycentric today to get started.
Posted on January 15, 2012 in Blog by Baycentric
Baycentric would like to publically state that we strongly oppose the SOPA & PIPA (HR3261 & S968) bills that are currently being debated in congress. SOPA/PIPA authors and supporters insist the purpose for these bills is to prevent internet piracy. Yet with strict censorship rules along with copyright regulations, they are trying to take full control of our public internet. These bills are a threat to the freedom of the internet and are a giant step in the wrong direction. We are opposed to any legislation that silences freedom of speech, restricts innovation, and prevents the open sharing of information on the internet.
What is SOPA & PIPA?
Companies that also strongly oppose SOPA & PIPA
Let Congress know you OPPOSE H.R. 3261 “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) and S. 968 “Protect IP Act” (PIPA):
Learn more about SOPA, Protect IP (PIPA), and Internet Blacklisting:
Posted on January 4, 2012 in Blog by Baycentric
As many of us know, emailing marketing can be a tediously time consuming yet necessary task that often requires some help, which is why there are a whole bunch of reasons to go bananas for the evolution of MailChimp! Here are the top five.
Ease of Use – You do not have to be a programming guru or hold a design degree to consistently deliver a professional and appealing appearance with MailChimp because given its numerous user friendly features and do-it-yourself tools, publishing your content has never been simpler.
Options – From pre-designed to customizable templates, your newsletters are sure to make an impact on your target market. When your almost endless options are applied appropriately, things may swing your way whether you are new to the worldwide zoo or an experienced worldwide web adventurer.
Social Tags – You can also use the application programming interface to sync your client databases and shopping carts courtesy of MailChimp and its current connections with websites such as facebook, PayPal, and twitter, as well as several other popular and preferred sites.
Pricing – Although a regular membership is “Forever Free” for sending up to 12,000 emails a month to a limit of 2,000 subscribers, there are some special features that you can only get by having a paid monthly account. These include Delivery Doctor, Inbox Inspector, Time Warp, Social Pro, Auto responders, and Simple Transactional Service.
Security – You don’t have to worry about any predatory problems in the potentially dangerous jungle that is the internet. The implementation of the latest online privacy policies and programs will ensure that your personal and professional information is respected as expected and also fully protected.
So please don’t monkey around with your email marketing, give MailChimp a try.
Posted on December 22, 2011 in Blog by Baycentric
Also known as Search Engine Optimization, has become a popular tool for bloggers and website makers alike, but what exactly is SEO? Search engines work off specific keywords. When a person enters “cakes” into the search bar, Google recognizes websites that contain this keyword and compile a list of searches that are relevant to the keyword the person originally searched for. That being said, a website that doesn’t utilize keywords will not come up on the list – not a good thing for companies that need to be found online.
Traffic, Traffic, Traffic - Though traffic on the road is a bad thing, internet traffic, especially heavy traffic, is a very good thing for a website suffering from it. Specific keywords that are integrated into websites content can drive more traffic to its site than a website that does not utilize those keywords. Sites that are based on e-commerce business rely heavily on internet traffic. Without internet traffic their site and therefore their company, will not get the client exposure needed in order to make money.
Effective, Non-Intrusive Marketing - People hear the term “marketing” and are instantly turned off. In the world of SEO, marketing is an entirely different ordeal. Customers are already searching voluntarily for your website based on specific keywords; therefore they are looking for your business instead of your business marketing to uninterested customers. By having an effective SEO campaign, you can ensure that more customers who are interested in your type of business actually find your business – this means more customers actually utilizing your service than those accidentally stumbling upon your site.
Build More Followers - Since people searching for your site are doing so voluntarily, you have a higher chance of developing more followers, more loyal customers and more visitors because they are already searching for your site in the first place.
How Do I Effectively Utilize SEO? - One issue is effectively utilizing SEO. Many individuals and companies have a great SEO campaign, but a poor website. Before creating a strong SEO campaign, make sure you follow a few expert tips on how to use it effectively for the best results:
- Create a quality domain that offers real products, real advice and is a real business for customers to find.
- Utilize unique content within your website. Websites that have drab, boring or regurgitated content might have great SEO to gain the attention of visitors, but not have good enough content to keep those visitors on their site long enough to make a purchase.
- Make sure the keywords you utilize are actually relevant to your company, products and overall mission. Therefore an accounting firm should not focus heavily on banking, business, etc. unless they specifically offer those services within their accounting service.
Companies that effectively use SEO will find that their website has higher traffic, more customers and even higher revenue than sites that do not – all of which mean a more successful site and business in the end.
Posted on December 16, 2011 in Blog by Baycentric
The freshest feature on the 800 million member social network of Facebook is the new design which is appropriately called Timeline, and one of its main tasks is to track a member’s colorful history in one quick click.
This recent remodel means that as of now, all of your pics and posts of the past are prepped for popping up for all your friends to see. Of course, while this montage of memories may be an acceptable switch for some, it could be undesirably dangerous for others, both socially and professionally.
The length of time that someone has been active in Facebook will surely determine the number of digital breadcrumbs they have left sprinkled on the network and also across the worldwide web, which can often be indefinite. So let’s say that your present profile appears to be proper and pretty though this was not always the case, well if you have not realized by now, cyberspace is a place where it is truly possible for your past to come back and haunt you.
The good news is that you can be in control of the content! From your cover, which is the first thing that visitors will see when they view your timeline, to your stories, by being able to share and highlight your preferential picks. Also, when you get timeline, you will have a whole week to tweak it prior to anyone else being able to see it. Although everybody is affected by the change, users can either wait for a notification from the system or activate it ahead of time by going to facebook.com/about/timeline and getting a head start, as eventually everybody’s profile will be converted to the latest look.
The creator of this concept is none other than the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and he initially introduced the idea in September of 2011 at the company’s annual developer conference. Unlike the old Facebook profile page which displays only the most up to date info on a member, Timeline offers a more comprehensive portrait of a user by exposing additional information that has been entered ever since their Facebook life began.
Overall, the forecast is fun, but depending upon how long you have been a “fan” or how infatuated you are with the “book”, considering the “facelift”, you may want to review the globally visible things that you use to say and do!
Posted on December 15, 2011 in Blog by Baycentric
It’s time to update family, friends and coworkers on what is new with you, which is a rather tedious task. You log-in to Facebook, Twitter and now MySpace. Once you log-in you realize you have numerous messages and notifications that never came to your email. Worse, you can’t remember your Twitter log-in information! Instead of remembering each website and all of your log-ins, remember one website: hootsuite.com
With HootSuite your social media is all conveniently placed into one dashboard with one log-in, one website and one place to manage all of your updates, friends, events and of course, pictures. Naturally the first question is how much does it cost? When you sign up for HootSuite you have the option of the Basic plan or the Pro plan. Basic gives you quick reports to keep up on your friends and family, five profiles you can manage and it’s free. The only drawback to the Basic plan is that it is ad supported, which means your updating will still have some banner ads floating about. The Pro plan offers you enhanced reporting, Google analytics integration, Facebook insights integration and the ability to opt out of those annoying ads for only $5.99 per month. Before you enter your credit card, you will have the option of a 30 day free trial to check out the service.
These days’ social media is done outside of the office and away from the computer. HootSuite takes full advantage of this by offering their social media dashboard service on the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and even the iPad. Customize the downloadable apps to fit your needs, track visitations and stats, update all of your accounts from your phone using one app and even share photographs.
Unlike the traditional social media platforms that Facebook and MySpace offer, HootSuite has a few features you wont find anywhere else like the custom analytics, pre-scheduling messages and updates, the ability to send out assignments and themes. Most of HootSuite’s advanced features that come with the Pro plan are more suited for businesses that need to keep up with comments and queries from customers and contacts. Business owners can use the analytics feature to track their brand sentiment, the overall growth of site followers, and integrate Google analytics directly into their Facebook platform without having to leave the Hootsuite system.
Now, is the HootSuite dashboard worth it? Well, that answer is entirely up to you. If you are constantly tweeting, updating and sharing every photograph you get, then you can save time by using the HootSuite app or dashboard rather than logging into each service on it’s own. Business owners can benefit from the use of a HootSuite dashboard, especially for updates to multiple clients on multiple social media platforms. The good news is it’s free to try and for those looking for a simple update and share system, the Hoot Suite Basic is free and gets the job done.
Posted on December 15, 2011 in Blog by Baycentric
Once again, things have changed a little bit and undoubtedly for the better inside the ever advancing world of WordPress. Recent updates have made using this priceless program a possibility for practically anyone as it now offers extra easy and efficient tools to work with while still remaining a fantastic and free professional publishing platform.
Of course, the phenomenal user friendly features that you have become familiar with are still there and then some. For instance, you will find it faster to upload information by simply clicking on one icon rather than having to select from several icons. Also, with the Drag-and-Drop media uploader, you will be able to add photos and files to posts and pages in a flash, either individually or grouped. In addition, there are now more file formats accepted than ever before, including rar and 7z.
The revved up dashboard design is guaranteed to speed up the overall WordPress experience while ensuring that things run more smoothly. From compact Flyout Menus to Help Tabs that are linked to support forums, learning and navigating is a convenient click away. Also, the screen appearance has improved for viewing on certain devices such as iPads and other tablets. Another huge help is the new feature pointers which are provided to explain any changes that have been made and an overview is always available by clicking the W logo in the corner of the toolbar on the main page.
In addition, expedient editing options have been incorporated, as you are now only alerted when another person is presently editing a post which you wish to work on. Tumblr members will also be pleased to know that content importing has been implemented as well, and the new Tumbler importer actually configures your Tumblog posts while automatically matching them to the appropriate WordPress post formats. Also, the Widgets have become much wiser which means that you will spend less time reconfiguring and adjusting themes.
Yes, it is absolutely all good under the hood due to the accessories such as flexible permalinks, assuring that performance penalties are not as prevalent when choosing a post permalink structure. Also included are data descrambling post slugs along with the latest version of jQuery and a revived API which even permits multiple editors on the same page.
Looks like that copy of WordPress for Dummies may not be needed after all!