Monday, January 18, 2016

Lustro Italiano Stone Care

Site Redesign For Stone Care Company

Redesigned With a Purpose In Mind

Lustro Italiano - maker of stone care products for granite, marble, natural stones and engineered stones wanted a redesign for their ecommerce site. While the site is still being fine tuned with the guidance of the team at Lustro, it has taken shape. The new design will help site visitors not only find, but also distinguish one product from another and assist them in deciding which products they will need for their particular stone. In case you are wondering what products Lustro Italiano carries I will run through them briefly:

Natural Stone Care

That is it in a nutshell. The site is designed to sell maintenance products and restoration and sealers for a variety of stones including:
  • Granite
  • Marble
  • Limestone
  • Terrazzo
  • Onyx
  • Travertine
It is fascinating to learn how much of a difference there is between some of these stones. And if you would like to learn more about those differences you can read up on them on the site.

Friday, August 30, 2013

New E-commerce Site Launched

King's Trail Leather is an online shop for custom handmade leather moccasins. The artisan that makes these diverse styles has been working is this trade for decades and can be found periodically stitching away at the crafts festival presented at Silver Dollar City.

King's Trail Leather offers an array of designs and different styles for men, women, and even kids. Each pair of quality leather moccasins is made by hand and you'll find boots, shoes, and knee highs as well as a variety of hides including suede. Be sure to check them out and browse around.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Is Real Estate Really Picking Up?

Every so often I hear reports on the news of the real estate industry improving. Then I see news articles and information about how interest rates are going up. Those factors make me wonder just how much of an increase in real estate activity there is. And then the next thing you know, there are new real estate firms being started.

That last factor is what made me really start thinking that there might be some truth in what everybody is saying about the real estate industry. Not long ago I was approached by a friend of mine that was looking for someone to build them a web site for real estate. She said that she was starting her own real estate firm and would need somewhere on the Internet to show her listings. I thought  to myself, "is there really that much activity in the real estate industry?" It turns out that there actually is a lot of activity going in the Branson real estate market. I would never have noticed it if I had not taken on my friend's project since it has been a few years since I built a web site for a REALTOR®. But now that I have had to keep up with the market better because of having worked on a Branson real estate site, I see the trends more clearly.

With all the real estate activity in the Branson area, it means that the potential is there for more homes to go on the market. If you have been thinking about selling your property now might be the time to do it according to some experts. However, keep from making any of these home selling mistakes when you go to sell.

So, my unprofessional opinion is yes, it is picking up. That is just what I have concluded from my perspective. But what do I know, I am not a real estate market expert. I am a web developer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Which Software is Good for Creating a Logo for a Website?

That was the question that Nikos Panagiotopoulos posed to a group of designers on LinkedIn. Nikos received a number of replies that simply stated the answer to his question in the form of a software suite. That discussion is what prompted me to write this post.

From my perspective, the answer is, "Nearly any of the design software can be good for designing a logo for a website". Now, to some people, that response might sound like a way to sidestep the answer. Let me explain why I feel like that reply is a good one.

Factor 1 - The Cost of the Software

 I do not know Mr. Panagiotopoulos personally, but many people looking for something "good" consider the monetary cost of the item when they begin looking at a product. Software can be very expensive or very cost effective. If this factor is weighted more heavily by the one posing the question, then open source software will likely be more appealing to him. If not, then one of the following bits of information may need to be considered.

Factor 2 - The Learning Curve

All software brings a learning curve for the new user. Often times this can be compounded when the individual is trying to learn multiple things at once. If the individual is an artist and is familiar techniques and principles in design, then all that is needed is for the person to discover how to carry out those tasks in the new software.

Occasionally though, very smart individuals may feel that the idea they have in their mind is relatively easy to create but find out that trying to learn design and software at the same time is not going to be very efficient. As a solution, the individual begins trying to find help using the software and realizes that in addition to having an intuitive user interface, having good documentation and support alleviates this challenge somewhat. These features are often times of a higher quality for the more expensive software bundles than they are for the lower cost, open source packages.

So it is easy to see then, that the first two factors can work against each other when trying to decide on design software. This is what brings us to the third aspect of choosing a design software package - the purpose of obtaining the software.

Factor 3 - The Software's Purpose

This aspect of the consideration really has multiple facets itself. The first of these is 'Will the image be used only for the web, or will there be print ready artwork created as well?' This is important because different types of images work better for each of these mediums of delivery. Additionally, there can be some hurdles if the incorrect software is used for specific graphics.

Another aspect of the software's purpose to keep in mind is the amount of work for which it will be used. The first project's requiring only a few features to complete does not necessarily mean that you do not need the additional features offered by the software. Having the ability to create other graphics and design elements can be very handy. What that means is that the software's purpose is often times the best place to begin when deciding on a design software package or bundle.

So, Nikos' question cannot really be answered the same way for everyone because circumstances will affect the decision. These are not the only factors to consider, but they are among the most important to think about.

Friday, June 21, 2013

What Value Does Good Content Carry?

That is really a good question, because if a webmaster does not understand the value, then what will motivate her to create good content.

Is Your Content Worth Link To?

Perhaps you have heard that question before. Then again, maybe you haven't ever thought about it. The truth is there is no shortcut to creating good quality content for your web site. Sure, there are ways to get quick links back to a site and picking a few of those up here and there isn't bad, but using those methods exclusively can be a problem. I posted on Active Rain just a bit ago to try to explain and demonstrate the benefits of good content that gets links. At the end of the blog post, I give a couple of examples of good content (in my opinion).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sneaky Link Builders

I Found Your Web Site

That's what the subject line said in the email that one of customers got. The author of the email said they had checked out the site and that they wanted to talk about linking to each other. So, I decided to go see what the site was all about to see if it was worth linking to. I like to consider options reasonably.  Here is what I found.

I followed the link to the 'page' that the person cited in the email and what do you know, it went to a legitimate page on the site. However, the page took a while to load, which makes me think that the page was not really a unique page that exists but is one that is used to produce a generic page with filled in parameters that could be used for baiting someone into linking to the site, after which they make a legitimate page.

The other thing I noticed is that while the page is there when you follow the link, there is no way to click to it on the web site. It isn't included in any navigation, or used in any page copy that I could find on the site by browsing.

What that means is, I don't see how the link the author of the site is offering can benefit my customer. I cannot see how a search engine will find the page since there isn't a link to it on the site. So the link they say they have 'given' is really not valuable at all.

What I am saying is this:

The amount of effort the author took to set up this 'trick' (for lack of a better word) could have just as easily been used to actually help the site visitors find what they are looking for by creating an actual page for fashion jewelry or something like that and leaving it at that.

But instead, in my opinion it doesn't look beneficial at this point. Why do I say that? Because there is a page, but unless a search engine finds that page, it won't ever generate traffic.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Web Site List by Subject

Grouped List of Web Sites

In another post, I wrote about helping people get more out of their web sites. In that post I mentioned that I felt like helping people find the right sites was important to making those sites successful and decided that I would provide a list of sites with that purpose in mind.So here is my ongoing list: