E-Commerce Websites Will Have To Start Paying Sales Tax

A women on an ecommerce website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court passed South Dakota v. Wayfair. It was a 5-4 majority, and it means that states may charge tax on purchases made from out-of-state sellers. This new ruling has overturned Quill Corp v. North Dakota, which prevented states from collecting any sales tax from online sales back in 1992.

Since Quill Corp v. North Dakota was passed twenty-five years ago, there’s been an extreme increase in interstate sales via electronic devices. According to the Government Accounting Office, states lost over $13 billion in taxes they could not collect last year.

Up until now, online retailers were not required to charge consumers a sales tax on out-of-state sales, unless the retailer had a physical presence in the state where the buyer was located.

In a recent article regarding this new ruling, The New York Times wrote: “Americans have done more and more of their shopping online in recent years, drawn by the promise of low prices, wide selection, and buy-from-home convenience. But e-commerce has also had another edge: Many of those sales taxes were, in effect, tax-free.”

Another reason South Dakota v. Wayfair passed is to level the playing field between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. Online retailers will be required to collect sales taxes from customers in individual states, even if they do have a physical presence in those states.

According to Entrepreneur, states can now choose to tax most internet sales as well as most mail orders. While all fifty states are not currently taxing across state lines, it’s only a matter of time before each state applies this next tax because it will increase state revenues.

What do you think of all of this? Have you thinking about adding an ecommerce section to your website? Contact Sperling Interactive today for a consultation.

Google Is Now Labeling HTTP Sites As “Not Secure”

A picture of the Google Chrome icon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This month, Google Chrome has started identifying websites listed as HTTP as “not secure” to its users. This new update comes with Google releasing Chrome 68, its 68th version of Chrome.  

For the past few years, Google has been urging people to make their websites HTTPS, incentivizing them through the potential boost in website ranking if they do so.

Google first announced it would eventually be listing sites as “not secure” back in September of 2016. In January 2017, when version 56 came out, Google Chrome started listing websites that take sensitive information, like credit card information and passwords, that weren’t HTTP as “not secure.” As of this month, Google Chrome will mark all websites that are not HTTPS as “not secure.”

Due to all the efforts Google Chrome has made over the last couple years to make our web more secure, 68% of Google Chrome traffic on Windows and Android systems are currently protected with HTTPS. Approximately 80% of Google Chrome traffic on Chrome OS and Mac is similarly protected.  

To continue to get more websites to make the switch, Google has been offering support for website owners and developers that have mixed content on their website(s). Mixed content is when they’re is HTTP and HTTPS content loaded on the same webpage.

HTTPS deals with encryption. It prevents anyone from tampering with your website. When your website is HTTPS, no one can tamper with the traffic or spy on what your visitors are doing. People can also not access your router and Internet service provider and inject malware.

Emily Schechter, Google Chrome’s security project manager, said “we think that in July the balance will be tipped enough so that we can mark all HTTP sites.”

Do you need help transitioning your website from “not secure” to secure”? Do you want to learn more about Google Chrome 68? Contact Sperling Interactive today. As a full-service web development company, we’re happy to help you with any of your website needs.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon.com's logo

 

 

 

 

 

You may think of Amazon as your go-to shopping outlet, but did you know they also own the world’s premiere cloud computing service, Amazon Web Services? Since 2006, Amazon Web Services has been helping businesses of all sizes with their computing, data storage, analytics, application, and deployment services. Today, let’s take a look at why you should continue to utilize Amazon and, in particular, this product.

Many major companies use Amazon Web Services.
The streaming giant, Netflix, was one of the first big companies to adopt Amazon Web Services and it did so back in 2009. In 2015, Netflix moved all of its IT operations to Amazon Web Services, and is seen as the first company to make Amazon Web Services more mainstream. Other big companies that utilize Amazon Web Services today include Hertz, Time, Inc., Pinterest, and Airbnb.

We use Amazon Web Services to host our clients’ websites.
As a web development company, we use Amazon Web Services to host our clients’ websites. What’s great about Amazon Web Services is that it’s compatible with the three content management systems (CMS) we use: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Amazon Web Services is great as it has the withband to cope with large website traffic without crashing.  

Amazon Web Services is cost effective.
We also use Amazon Web Services because it only charges you for the services you use. There’s no up-front costs or contracts. With Amazon Web Services, you have the option to pay as you go or you can pay on a fixed monthly setup. You can end your relationship with Amazon Web Services at any time, or upgrade or downgrade their services whenever you please.

Amazon Web Services is very secure.
Amazon Web Services has data centers all over the world that are continuously monitored and maintained. The reason Amazon has multiple data centers is that in the event one center has a problem, it won’t impact everyone worldwide. The location of these data centers are hidden, and that’s so no one can break in and obtain their clients’ private information. This makes Amazon Web Services stand out from the crowd. Their product is more reliable and responsible than anyone else’s out there.  

Contact Sperling Interactive to learn more about Amazon Web Services.

Why ADA Compliant Websites Are So Important + How To Make Your Site Compliant

Physical handicap symbol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADA is an acronym that stands for Americans With Disabilities and it became a law in 1990. This act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in any area of public life. In January 2018, new federal regulations were put into effect requiring all federal institutions’ websites to be meet AA compliance on all items.

Even if you aren’t a federal regulation, It’s been that more and more ADA compliance lawsuits are winning in court. With most people owning a smartphone and other mobile devices, it’s not a surprise that many of today’s discrimination cases are trickling into the digital world.

Today, any business that is considered a “public accommodation” must have an ADA compliant website. The most common types of businesses people considered to be a “public accommodation” include B2C businesses, retail, or any type of business the public could easily access. We at Sperling Interactive believe that even if you have a B2B business, you should still have an ADA compliant website. This will make you more SEO friendly, and also, who doesn’t want to accessible to all web users?

Other Reasons Why You Should Care

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than 1 in 8 Americans have a disability, making them the largest minority group in our country. We’re in the era of the Internet, but that doesn’t ensure everything online is user-friendly for those with disabilities. Another fact from the Pew Research Center is disabled Americans are less likely to be found online. About a quarter of Americans with a disability say they never use the Internet. Disabled adults are 20% less likely to own a traditional computer, smartphone, or tablet. Groups of people who will be impacted by a non-compliant website include but are not limited to  individuals who have impairments with visuals, motor skills, hearing, communication, learning, and cognition.  

How Do I Make My Website ADA Compliant?

Your site probably already has some of the items for an ADA compliance website checked off, but here are some important fixes to make that are a bit more complex .

-The text must meet a minimum contrast ratio against the background.
-Website visitors must be able to navigate the site through their keyboard only.

-Those with a visual impairment must be able navigate with a screen reader software.

-Your website must handle text scaling up to 200% without causing horizontal scrolling or content-breaking layout issues.   

Contact Sperling Interactive today to see how we can make your website accessible for anyone!  

Why You Should Hire A Web Development Company

A laptop, headphones, notebook, pencil, and book on HTML and CSS.

 

 

 

 

 


Businesses and nonprofits nowadays need to have a sleek and professional website to prosper in today’s digital world. While it may seem like a good idea for a business or a nonprofit to try and create a website on their own, they should really hire professionals. Here are five reasons why.

You’ll have a custom web design.
You won’t be restricted to stay in the limits of someone else’s template; you’ll have total creative freedom, and the web development company can make a website tailor-made for your brand and business needs. Every website has an objective. An ecommerce, for example, will want to make sure their website generates sales, while a nonprofit will want their website to focus on their mission and the work they do. A web development company knows this and knows the best ways to help you reach your goals.

You’ll have an SEO-friendly website.
A web development company knows how to apply the best and current SEO practices to your website. They can write content for your website that search engines like.

You’ll have a mobile-friendly site.
Speaking of SEO, having a mobile-friendly website is another way to boost search engine ranking. In our last month’s blog post, we explored how Google has started prioritizing the mobile version of a website over the desktop version. Having a mobile-friendly website will also decrease your bounce rate. When your website isn’t mobile-friendly, your visitors have to zoom in or squint to read the content. A web development company has the capabilities to make sure that your website is appealing to users across all devices.

You’ll have continual maintenance.
A website is never really done. It needs continual maintenance after it’s been created. A web development company has the tools to keep your website up-to-date and running quickly and smoothly. They can also ensure that any bugs on your site get fixed and how to drive traffic to your website, even when new web trends appear.

It saves business owners time and money.
Business owners have very limited time as it is and creating a website is a timely project to undertake. By utilizing a web development company, a business owner will have the time and energy to continue running their business efficiently. When your website is being made, you’ll want to make sure you’re still capable of running the business so people will want to be your clients and eventually check out your website when it is complete.

Are you thinking about hiring a web development company? At Sperling Interactive, all of our websites are custom-designed to fit the needs of each client.

Choosing A Content Management System For Your Website

Choosing A Content Management System

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Sperling Interactive we use WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla when creating websites for our clients. All of these platforms are terrific, customizable, and free. Today on the blog we will be over viewing these platforms to help you decide which is the best fit for your company.

WordPress: WordPress works well with small- to medium-sized websites, blogs, and smaller e-commerce stores. It has over 4,000 free themes and over 45,000 free plugins. It’s update frequency is 42 days. Though it can be used by advanced developers, it’s the best platform of the three for a beginner. WordPress is also becoming more widespread for larger websites.

Joomla- The ideal Joomla user should be looking to make an ecommerce site or a social networking site. The user should also have some basic technical skills as Joomla can create more complex sites than WordPress. It’s really the middle ground of the three platforms. Joomla has over 1,000 free themes and over 7,000 free plugins. It’s update frequency is 36 days.

Drupal: Drupal’s targeted user should have an advanced understanding of web developing. Of the three platforms, Drupal creates the most advanced websites. Drupal has over 2,000 free themes and over 34,000 free plugins. It’s update frequency is 51 days.  Drupal would work best for users hoping to create sites that require complex data organization, online stores, and community platform sites with multiple users. What also separates Drupal from the others is that its pages typically load faster.

If your project needs do not cleanly fit into one of these content management systems, Sperling Interactive can custom design a system for your company.

How To Create A User Friendly Website


So, you’re about to design a new website for your company. How exciting! Before you start designing, developing, and adding content to your site, remember that your website isn’t about you. It’s for your visitors. As great as your ideas may be, your new website will not be successful if it’s not user friendly.

Keep the design simple. When you add too many options to your website, you bombard your visitors and distract from the most important components of your business. In turn, that may shut them off from seeking your services or buying your products.

Make sure the content is easy to skim. Fact: people only read 20% of the content on a webpage. Therefore, keep everything you write on your website bitesize. Long sentences and paragraphs are hard to scan. This may mean your content has to go through more revisions, but in the end, you’ll have more visitors coming to your site with a better representation of what you do.

Include whitespace. Another way you can make your content easy to skim is with whitespace, the empty space between images, text, and other page elements. Whitespace breaks your content up and gives your visitors a chance to take everything in and process it. Whitespace also makes your web pages easy on the eye and it won’t overwhelm visitors.

Categorize the content. When designing your sitemap, keep it intuitive. Each page needs a name, and be sure to add sub-navigations, or subpages to the main menu items, should your website have over 10 pages. If you are going to have a large website, you’ll want to include a search bar so visitors can gain access to specific webpages based on the keywords they searched. Rule of thumb, don’t make your potential clients work too hard.

How To Prepare Your Website For Cyber Monday

With Cyber Monday being the biggest shopping day of the year and eight in ten Americans now shopping online, it’s time to get your ecommerce shop ready for the big day. People love the accessibility of online shopping, and you wouldn’t want to drive customers away due to your lack of preparation. If you’re a business owner, here are five important tips to make note of for next Monday:

Make sure your server can handle Cyber Monday. Call your IT personnel as soon as you can. Your website’s host is probably already hard at work preparing for Monday’s madness, but it’s never a bad idea to let them know your ecommerce shop will be participating.

Mark the deals your customers will be saving. The biggest reason people are shopping on Monday is because of the savings. It’s hard to not resist a good deal. When listing the price of your products, be sure to mark how much the product costs before the sale. People are more likely to proceed to checkout when they see how much they’re saving.

Utilize social media and email marketing. Posting to social media and sending out email campaigns will help your customers know you’re offering Cyber Monday sales. What’s especially effective about email marketing campaigns is that you can provide loyal customers with rewards and follow up with those who have abandoned their shopping cart.

Create online ads. Online ads are a great way to increase the amount of visitors to your site, but don’t create just any ordinary ad this Cyber Monday. Make sure the ad is festive, has a call to action, and brings potential customers to a landing page with discounts.

Research the sales your competitors are offering. As you finalize your deals, check out what your competitors are doing this year or have done in the past. Also, do some research on what items are seeing the least amount in deals and use that to your advantage if your store sells any of those items.

Website Tips to Bring In New Customers

Though there are numerous social media platforms out there to help you boost your business, your website is arguably your most important marketing tool because it conveys to others you mean business. Whether you deliver a service or sell a product, it is important to keep the information up to date and easily conveys to the consumer what it is you are selling. Managing a website though is no easy feat, and if you find your site is struggling to bring in new customers, here are some website tips to follow.

1.You don’t have a good mobile site. According to Google, more than 50% of the world’s searches come from mobile devices.  With that said, having a responsive web design for your business is crucial. Responsive web design (RWD) makes web pages on all devices easy to read and navigate.

2. Your site lacks a brand. Branding is more than your business’ tagline and logo. It’s your image and voice-your message to the world!  A good brand sets you apart from your competitors and represents your story and values.

3.You don’t have custom photographs. Adding custom photos to your website enhances your brand. It brings a personal touch, a peek into your business, and uniformity. Additionally, you can put your custom photos on your newsletters, ads,  presentations, social media, brochures, and other print designs.

4. You need to focus on SEO/SEM. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a crafted marketing equation to increase the number of hits on your website. SEO is done so by dropping keywords in the correct places of your website to improve your business’ search engine ranking. SEO’s sibling is SEM (Search Engine Marketing). SEM is all about increasing your business’ impressions, clicks, engagements, and sales through paid advertisements on search engines and social media sites.

5. No clear call to action. You want to make it very easy to get in touch with you or purchase your product. Make sure the phone number and address, if you have a physical location, are easy to find. Additionally, make sure there are clear points on the website where you are asking for the users’ business and making it as easy as possible to buy.

6. Less words and more visuals. While studies have shown people are becoming more visually intelligent, your visuals shouldn’t tell your entire story. People will spend on average 2:30 minutes on your website and a minute or less per page. Visuals help to tell this story quickly and efficiently.

Chrome’s New Change

The purpose of SSL(Secure Sockets Layer), is to guarantee visitors they are on secure site. It is an encrypted connection between the web server and the visitors’ web browser. It helps prevent any attack or intrusive companies like ISPs from tampering with the data that is sent between websites and your own browser. Not only is it important to protect from sensitive information, but it also helps protect your site from any malware as well as preventing others from injecting advertisements in your resources.

There are three different forms of SSL:

  • Single –  secures one fully-qualified domain or subdomain name.
  • Wildcard – covers one domain name and unlimited number of its subdomains.
  • Multi-domain – secures multiple domain names.

The benefits provided by an SSL are not simply limited to security of data the consumer inputs into the site. Instead, it provides the consumer with the ability to identify the security and legitimacy of a website by verifying if the information on a website will remain secure and will not be intercepted on its way from point A to B. There are several advantages to SSL Certificates:

Authentication –  Online users always want to be sure their information or the content on a website, goes to a correct server without it being intercepted. Having an SSL certificate adds another type of protection called a server certificate. The server certificate purpose is to act as a mediator between browsers and SSL servers to show it is and can be trusted.

Encrypts Information –  Encryption helps to keep information read and used between two intended parties. When information has more “stops” to make, the higher chance a third party could access that information. When users are visiting your site, it’ll know that you have encryption in place in several different ways such as ‘http’ with ‘https’. This change shows the site is secure and is backed up by a lock image.

Critical for Payments – To meet with Payment Card Industry compliance regulations, online businesses need an SSL certificate with proper encryption of a least 128-bit. PCI have specific standards such as the SSL certificate is from a trusted source, has the right strength of encryption and provides a private connection for every page that personal information that is used. These standards are then verified, which then allow them to take credit card payments.

Business Proofing – Companies and business are prompted to have advanced security. As companies implement SSL, they are taking a step forward in future-proofing.