How To Understand Your Developer

Web development code.

 

 

 

 

 

Are you working with a developer on a new site and don’t know what certain words they keep saying mean? Web development comes with a lot of confusing jargon, and today on the blog we’re going to be defining the most used development terms to help you understand your developer at every step of the process.

Cross-Browser Compatible


This is the ability for a website or an app to be supported on all browsers and to degrade beautifully when features are present or lacking. Cross-browser compatibility is important because there are hundreds of web browsers around the globe and you’ll always want your website to look nice in whatever browser a person is on, be that Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.

Responsiveness

A responsive website is a website that responds to and/or resizes itself so it can fit nicely on all devices and window sizes. That could be a desktop monitor, a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone. Responsive web design make web pages on all devices easy to read and navigate.

Front-End


There are two areas a developer works in. The first one we’ll explore is the front-end. The front-end of a website is the part users interact with. Front-end development controls a website’s fonts, colors, and menus. So essentially everything you see when you type a URL in was conducted by a front-end developer.

Back-End


Behind every website is a server, an application, and a database. A back-end developer builds and maintains those features so the site can work properly.  

Full Stack Developer


A full stack developer is a developer that has both front-end and back-end skills. You have to know different coding languages to do front-end development and back-end development.

SSL Certificate

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It provides a secure connection between a client and the server through which your website’s information is delivered. You can tell if your website has an SSL certificate by looking at your website on Google Chrome. If it reads ‘non secure’ next to your URL, then you don’t have an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate prevents anyone from tampering with your website. When your website is secure, 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.

Data Validation


Data validation deals with validating sensitive information you receive through your site. Sensitive information for a doctor’s office would be HIPAA information. Sensitive information for an ecommerce site would be credit card information. You have to validate sensitive information so it can be processed. Data validation is important because it prevents people from hacking into your site.

Wireframe


Wireframe deals more with design, but when you hear the person making your website refer to ‘wireframe,’ they’re talking about your website’s skeleton. It’s essentially an outline of the finished product. It should be the first thing a developer comes to you with after you agree to work with them.

What else do you find confusing about web development? We will try to answer your question in a future blog post.

How To Have A Great Seasonal Website

A Christmas themed flat lay with wrapping paper, treats, and laptops.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you run a consumer based business? If so, a great way to drive more people to your website and increase sales is to utilize seasonal web design. Seasonal web design is a digital marketing tool in which your website reflects the current season and/or holiday. Seasonal web design is effective because it can evoke emotion, create personal connections, and help consumers connect with your brand. Who doesn’t get in the festive mood when they see these Christmas themed websites? Here are our tips and tricks on how you can get your customers excited for the new season and your brand!

Have an outdoor time lapse video.

Today video has never been bigger. One of the biggest web design trends right now is video because it’s attention grabbing. We recently built the new website for the Salem Witch Museum. On the homepage of the website is a timelapse of the Salem Witch Museum from the outside. If you revisit their website in the fall, you’ll see the video is slightly different because it will be an autumnal time lapse. And if you return to the website in the winter, the video will show the museum during the winter. We’ve done this to the museum’s website to 1) entice the viewer and 2) to show the museum is open year round and not just in October. A time lapse video is an awesome way to show consumers what your business is up to during each new season.

Redesign your logo for the different holidays/seasons.

If you’re going to embark on seasonal branding, having a seasonal logo is an absolute must. Logos are incredibly important in any business as they are the image people associate with your company. We strongly advise if you’re going to be doing seasonal promotions, to create a new fun, seasonal logos. This will catch people’s eyes and direct them to your site to see your sales. Check out what some of the biggest brands have done to their logos during the holiday season in December.

Add seasonal colors.

Another way to spice things up is to change the colors on your website to the colors of season and/or holiday we’re in. Holidays and colors are very closely tied together. When you see orange and black, your mind immediately thinks of Halloween. And when you hear green and red, you think of Christmas. Using associated colors is another strong visual tactic to catch the attention of your audience.

Upload seasonal photos.  

Our last tip is simpler and is something you can do on your own if you’re not much a website wiz. For this last tip, we suggest uploading some seasonal snaps. If you’re from New England, take some photos outside. We’re fortunate we live in area of the world where we receive visible signs when a new season arrives, like snow and foliage. If you have seasonal products, make sure those are uploaded to the homepage to inform your visitors. Consider doing some flat lays with your seasonal products.

If you’re looking to implement a seasonal web design for your business, contact us today! At Sperling Interactive, we have the developers, designers, photographers, and ideas to make your website extra special during each new season.

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.

How To Create A Responsive Website

A laptop and two desktop monitors.

 

 

 

 

 


A responsive website is one that provides a good user experience to all devices and every screen size. If you’re a business owner, having a responsive website is crucial as a website is really an extension of your business. In this day and age, most people first discover a business through its website. Here are our biggest tips on how you can build a responsive website that your visitors will love.  

Ask yourself, what features are important for my audience? Asking this question can help you come up with the design and layout for your website. For example, if you run a brick and mortar store that also has an ecommerce, you’ll want to make sure the website is setup for a shopper. This means having any special offers in the header section of the site, having a find-in-store feature, and a ‘related items’ feature.  

Use a fluid grid. A fluid grid is one way you can layout the different versions of your website. A fluid grid deals with percentage value instead of pixels, and is a tool that enables web designers/developers to create dynamic websites for all devices.

Utilize Google’s resizer. Resizer is an interactive program where you can test out your design on desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.

Add media queries to your code. Media queries is what allows you to adapt conditions such as screen resolution (mobile screen vs. desktop screen). By adding this to your code, it allows you to adapt the size of the screen, depending on the device.

Pay attention to your navigation. Your navigation is arguably the most important part of your website as it serves as the site’s guide. It also impacts your traffic and search engine rankings. With that said, make sure the navigation is either horizontal across the top of pages or vertically on the left hand side of pages.

Be mindful of the webpages. Another important thing you should do is make sure the names of your web pages accurately reflect what users will find on those pages. You should also determine what will be the most viewed pages on your site, that way you can ensure they are the first things people see.

Don’t be afraid to leave things out. A responsive website doesn’t necessarily mean every version of your website looks identical. What’s most important is that each version of the website maintains the brand’s identity and has the same general feel. Determine what images or design elements work and leave out those that don’t.

At Sperling Interactive, we can create custom websites that fit the needs of each client. This means evaluating the intended audience to structuring a site that meets their viewing habits.

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.

Plugins We Like: WooCommerce

E Commerce is the transaction of money made through the Internet. Having a reliable way to make such transactions is crucial especially when your entire business depends on it. This is why WooCommerce is our go-to ecommerce plugin.

WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin created to allow you to sell absolutely anything, from physical object to digital tools. It is also one of the most used for online stores on WordPress, which could be because of the full control WooCommerce provides to both store owners and web developers. With this plug in you get control of the following:

-Discounts

-Bookings (for restaurants, hotels, etc.)

– Memberships and subscriptions

-Shipping Rate

-Shipping locations

-Transaction type

-Shipping company

…. AND MORE!

We asked our designers and developers Stacey, Clair and Azizul what their opinions are on WooCommerce and why it is our most favorable ecommerce plugin. According to their experiences, they have found WooCommerce to be highly customizable and easy to manage items. They also agreed it is very user friendly for clients with multiple built-in payment options and easy checkout process. They did point out, however, that there are many premium plugins that require payment so, not all the customization options are free. Another important fact to note is that this interface is most useful for small to medium ecommerce businesses. If you are a small, startup retail business owner, WooCommerce would be the best option for you.

Keeping WordPress Secure

A new year gives you a great start to take the best measures to boost up your security. Even WordPress pros can often forget that staying on top of the simple things can lead you to a successful and safe site. Here are a few tips to keep you and your WordPress in the right direction, secured and away from being vulnerable from any sort of attack.

 

Change your password (often) and don’t use common usernames.

It is highly important to always make sure your password is being changed often and that it is fitted for security. Random strings of numbers and letters are the best way to keep your password safe from hackers. You can even use password generators such as Norton Password Generator to give you a top-notch one.

Shy away from using ‘admin’ or anything simple when creating your username for WordPress. If that’s the case, you may change it by adding /wp-login.php or /wp-admin/ at the end of your domain name.

Another great way to keep your security measure boosted is through two-step authentication. Two-step authentication (2FA) means a password is required along with an authorization code that is sent to either your phone or email, in order to get through the site. Owners decide what those two can be, whether a regular password followed with a secret question, a code or set of specific characters.

 

SSL to encrypt data

SSL, Secure Socket Layer, ensures security to data transfer between user browsers and the server, which makes it difficult for hackers to breach the connection or access your information.

For WordPress, you are able to purchase one from dedicated companies or ask your hosting firm to provide you one, often found in their hosting packages.

A bonus to using SSL, is Google ranks sites with SSL higher than those who don’t have it. In other words, more traffic for your website.

 

Securing themes and plugins

WordPress is updated frequently. Updates that are made for the purpose of fixing bugs, as well as updating vital security patches. In doing so, can cause some serious harm that you want to avoid at all cost.

In other words, update plugins, themes, everything. Regularly.

However, if you do want to use the built-in plugin and theme editor in the dashboard, you’re better off disabling it. Authorized users are given access to this editor, and, if by any chance the account is hacked, the same editor can be used to take down the entire site just by modifying the code.

5 Ways to Improve Your Website this New Year

A new year brings new resolutions, new improvements and new opportunities for growth. We’re sure you have a list of your own personal resolutions lined up and today, we are here to help you achieve your website resolutions and improvements for your companies sites. Follow along to learn about 5 different ways to improve your website and gain more viewers.

 

  1. Be obvious about website navigation.

Website navigations helps visitors find what they are looking for first, and increase search engine ranking second. Therefore, use keywords that would be obvious for your visitors; this may mean no internal lingo. Remember that the less clicks visitors have to go through to find what they are looking for, the better.  

 

  1. Add a CTA throughout your website.

After providing your visitors with all the information they are looking for, give them a sense of direction so they know what they can do next with the information provided. Remember that each call to action (CTA) should begin with a verb and should be set apart from the rest of information. For example, a yellow button that says “Add to Cart.”

 

  1. Add internal links throughout your website.

Internal links are not only great for SEO but they are also great for keeping your visitors browsing through your website for a longer time. Internal links can be used to direct visitors to pages with further, more detailed, information about a particular service or product mentioned in a different page.

 

  1. Avoid using carousels.

Statistics show that internet users don’t even get to the fifth slide in a carousel. If you insist on having one in your website, minimize the amount of slides to three. Otherwise, use alternative to carousels such as changing your layout to a Hero layout, highlighting your major services or products on the homepage and direct them to its page, or providing a video that highlights top services or products.

 

  1. Lose the testimonial page.

The truth is that visitors don’t go to your website looking for such page. The best way to highlight positive reviews about your company is by incorporating quotes or highlights throughout your website in different pages, such as the product page, about page, contact page, etc.