Articles tagged as ‘Web Development’

Website Designs that are People-friendly are Google-friendly

Google has always had the goal of making sure that their search engine provides the most relevant results to searchers. Through the use of algorithms, Google determines how related a site is when an Internet user completes a search for a certain keyword or keyword phrase. Recently, though, Google has made some very drastic changes to its algorithms. These updates have left many unaware website owners wondering how to make their sites appear on Google searches.

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Should I Use a Hosted E-Commerce Platform?

When you’re trying to decide what platform, shopping cart, or CMS to use for an e-commerce site the options can become overwhelming. You could go with an open source option, a simple shopping cart for selling digital downloads, an enterprise system for large shops, create your own custom system, or choose a hosted platform.

In recent years several hosted e-commerce platforms have gained in popularity, partly because they are very easy to setup and use. Every option will have pros and cons, and in this article we’ll take a detailed look at hosting platforms to help you decide if this is the right option for you or your client.

What is a Hosted E-Commerce Platform?

A hosted e-commerce platform will provide you with web hosting as well as the e-commerce functionality. You’ll pay one monthly fee that will cover all aspects of the service, and you’ll get support from one company for both the hosting and e-commerce. A company like Shopify has created their own e-commerce system and it can only be used on their own servers. You can’t use a traditional web host and use Shopify on your site, it must be hosted with them. Of course, there are pros and cons of doing it this way, and we’ll look at them in just a minute.

Shopify

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Programming Skills Most Desired by Employers in 2014

It’s no myth that programmers are a highly sought after group in companies all over the globe. In her Forbes article on the Top Jobs for 2014, Jacquelin Smith analyzes an EMSI job study, which found that software developer (applications and systems software) is "the higher-paying occupation that has produced the most jobs post-recession". She also points out that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30% increase in software developers between 2010 and 2020.

Joseph Mapua also points out in his article in SkilledUp that, according to the BLS, businesses are looking to hire IT and computer workers due to the high demand for implementing new technologies. Developing software, enhancing security, upgrading outdated systems are all areas for which organizations have a need for computer professionals.

US News Today came out with their list of top 100 jobs of 2014 recently as well. Software developer and computer systems analyst were the top two in the entire list! Within the list of tech jobs, the top 5 careers include these two plus web developer, information security analyst, and database administrator.

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Online Courses for Learning Web Design and Development

Web design and web development are popular career choices right now. One of the great things about getting into the industry is that there are a variety of different ways to build your knowledge and gain experience. You can attend a college or university and pursue a degree in a related field, you can learn on your own, or you can taken advantage of a growing number of resources that provide online training. In this article we’ll look at the best websites that offer online training to help you learn how to design and/or develop websites. We’ll look at free resources as well as others that require payment. Of course, the free resources are generally more limited, but they can still provide a good starting point.

For those that require payment, there are a few different varieties. Many of the websites operate an a membership bases, where you will pay a monthly or yearly fee in order to get unlimited access to their training materials. Others will sell a variety of different courses, and you can select the specific course that you want to purchase.

Online Courses and Training for Web Design/Development:

Treehouse

Treehouse

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Shopify Toolbox: Resources for Shopify Users and Designers

Shopify is one of the leading e-commerce options for companies and individuals who want to be able to quickly set up a feature-rich online shop. All Shopify users have access to free templates that can be used, plus a large and growing selection of beautiful premium templates that can be purchased for affordable prices. Shopfiy is a hosted system, so you won’t have to go through a complicated installation process on your server, and support and billing for e-commerce functionality and hosting is combined and managed in one place.

Many designers and developers love Shopify because it’s a great system to use for client projects. You can create custom themes for your clients, or even make money by selling your templates in their theme shop. Developers can also create and sell apps in the app shop. Shopify has a partners program that allows designers to earn a commission by referring clients, and they also have an experts section where you can get listed so Shopify users can easily find you for custom work.

In this post we’ll highlight a number of resources that will be very helpful to designers/developers who want to learn more about Shopify, and also for shop owners who want to find some great resources to make their e-commerce site even better.

Shopify Ecommerce

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Using Parallax Scrolling without Overdoing It

Parallax scrolling has been around since the 80s when video games used the effect to make foreground images move at different speeds than background images. It wasn’t until about 2011, though, that parallax scrolling became popular on the web after Nike released its Better World microsite in January of 2011. At that time, parallax was new and exciting. It made a huge impression on first time visitors because of the stunning effects. Now, it has become an overdone effect that is (hopefully) slowly dying down.

Just because an effect has been abused, however, does not necessarily mean it should be thrown to the wind. Some websites use parallax scrolling in just the right amount and the right way – to pique the interest of viewers but point them to the right places. Even ecommerce sites can create some pretty excellent parallax that lends, rather takes away, from conversions. For other websites, parallax scrolling ruins the entire experience of the visitor, turning their site into something very un-usable and confusing. So how do web designers know how to correctly implement this effect?

The first bit of advice to remember is that there are plenty of other ways to make a site stand out and draw visitors in to an experience without parallax scrolling. But if you must use it, then make sure to keep the following points in mind.

Use It for the Right Website

Not every website will benefit from parallax scrolling. In fact, parallax is not beneficial for any website on which users want fast information. Parallax requires scrolling patience, especially if in between helpful information are a bunch of added graphics and cutesy animation. These distractions will usually end up annoying visitors who are in a hurry.

Storytelling websites, however, can benefit greatly from parallax scrolling. Again, you don’t want to create so many extras that getting to the right information is almost impossible. But a parallax effect can really add to the experience and emotional response of a story.

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Factors to Consider When Choosing an E-Commerce Platform

Choosing the right e-commerce platform for your website is now easy task. There are hundreds of different options available with options in all different price ranges and with varying features. If you’re overwhelmed at the process of choosing the right platform for your site, or for the site of a client, the decision usually becomes much clearer once you’ve determined what is most important for your site. In this article we’ll look at some specific questions to ask yourself, or your client, to help lead to the right choice. Make sure that you take the time to make a wise and informed decision, because changing platforms down the road can often be a time consuming and costly experience.

General Categories of E-Commerce Options

Before we look at the factors that you need to consider, let’s first take a look at the general categories of e-commerce platforms. Most of the hundreds or thousands of e-commerce platforms out there will fall into one of these six categories.

1. Enterprise E-Commerce

Enterprise e-commerce systems like Magento’s Enterprise Edition are feature-rich and robust systems that are typically used by large or fast-growing companies. Of course, with the advanced features and capabilities comes a higher price tag.

Magento Enterprise

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Technical Details to Consider Before Starting a Membership Website

Membership websites are often considered one of the best approaches for making money online. The recurring revenue generated by a successful membership website is an obvious reason that these sites are so desirable, but the truth is that running a membership website is not easy. Many customers are hesitant to sign up for on-going payments, so you’ll need to offer something that makes the recurring fee a worthwhile expense for your members. And in order to keep members you’ll need to work to add new, and valuable, content on a regular basis.

While getting and keeping members is certainly a challenges, it’s the technical aspects of setting up a membership site that present the biggest problems for most entrepreneurs who are looking to go this route.

A membership website needs to be able to do a few key things:

  • Allow new members to sign up
  • Process payments at the time of sign up and any recurring payments
  • Integrate the member accounts with the appropriate payments
  • Restrict access to protected content for anyone other than active logged in members
  • Provide active logged in members with the appropriate access to protected content

There are obviously other functions as well, but these are the basics. So if you want to start a membership website, how do you go about getting this set up? Of course, you could use a custom solution, but that would be very costly and/or time consuming. For the vast majority of people setting up membership websites the best option is to use an existing script or plugin that provides all of the needed functionality.

Finding the right option to power your membership website can be a challenge, but the good news is that there are more quality options than there were just a few years ago. Here are some of the leading options:

aMember Pro – aMember is a powerful, feature-rich solution that can integrate with a wide variety of content management systems. It’s probably the most popular option, in large part because it can be used with WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, phpBB, vBulletin, and much more. The down side of aMember is that it can be a little complicated to set up and it can be much more than is needed for some projects. The current cost for aMember is $179.95 for lifetime access with 6 months of free updates.

aMember

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25 jQuery Image Gallery/Slider Tutorials and Plugins

This post was originally published several years ago. As technology and trends have changed over the years, the content of the post became outdated. So we’ve updated the post with all new examples that will be more relevant for modern design and development.

jQuery image galleries and sliders are very common on portfolio sites and are also useful for any other type of site for displaying images and photos. Fortunately, adding a jQuery gallery does not have to be difficult, even if you don’t have much experience with JavaScript and jQuery. In this post we’ll see tutorials and plugins that can provide you with the resources that you need to get a gallery of slider on your site.

jQuery Image Gallery/Slider Tutorials:

Create an Image Rotator with Description (CSS/jQuery) 

This tutorial by Jake Rocheleau is a re-make of a popular tutorial originally written by Soh Tanaka. Jake has updated the code used in the tutorial to include some new user-requested features.

Create an Image Rotator with Description (CSS/jQuery)

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Udemy Online Courses: Effective Online Training

Udemy offers the best in online education for creative professionals. Whether you want to get promoted, break into a new industry, start a company, further a passion, or just accelerate your life, Udemy helps you learn from the amazing instructors around the world, enabling you to get there faster.

Udemy’s team recruits the world’s top experts, including New York Times best-selling authors, CEOs, celebrities, and Ivy League professors. These instructors have taught over 500,000 students on Udemy, helping them learn everything from programming to photography to design to yoga and more. Founded in 2010, Udemy is funded by Insight Venture Partners, Lightbank, MHS Capital, 500 Startups and other investors who previously foresaw the internet giants YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Groupon and Yelp. Udemy is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Today for only 8 more hours our users have been offered 75% off of any single course. If you have been thinking about trying out their training now would be the perfect time to get the best deal we’ve ever seen them offer. Here are a few suggested courses for you to check out.

USE CODE: DISCOVER775

Creating Responsive Web Design

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 4.26.15 PM

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