Archive for December, 2016

Tips for Using Dreamweaver for Web Design

Saturday, 17 December, 2016

Adobe Dreamweaver is  nearly 20 years old. This proprietary web development software was initially created in 1997 by Macromedia. In 2005, Adobe Systems acquired it and has maintained it ever since. It’s a popular choice of web design for experienced designers as well as beginners who have just completed coding bootcamp training.

One way Dreamweaver has been distinguished over the years is its ability to continually innovate to keep apace with modern trends in code and design. It can be called a lot of things, but never let it be said that Dreamweaver is outdated.

Whether you are simply experimenting around with the coding, or want to create a nice website, here are some tips to get you started:

Create a style sheet –

If you already don’t know how to create a style sheet in Dreamweaver, it’s quite simple: Click on Windows / CSS styles, and then select the “+” icon to create a new style. Enter a name for the style sheet and then choose “Make Custom Style”. Confirm. You can repeat these same steps to create additional styles for links, titles, subtitles, and so forth.

Move the code panel around –

If you don’t like the Code and Split view, go to Window > Code Inspector and you will find a free-range option. You can then move and dock the standard panel in a more convenient spot, whether it’s along the side or bottom of the document window.

Modify or experiment with an existing layout –

Dreamweaver CS6 offers two HTML5 CSS layouts and 16 standard HTML4 layouts. You can get some good practice by modifying pre-existing layouts. You might find it useful to disable CSS styling in the Design View screen. Just select Choose View / Style Rendering / Display Styles and uncheck the option (it’s usually turned on by default).

Filter fonts –

In the old days, Dreamweaver only had so many fonts to choose from. It was all the basic fonts that have been around since the beginning of the internet. Now, you can get plenty of attractive web fonts for free, thanks to Creative Cloud access. A Dreamweaver user has direct access to literally hundreds of neat fonts in all styles imaginable. No matter what kind of look you are trying to achieve, there is the perfect font family for it. Assign a font family property to a selector (any will do) in the CSS Designer panel. A list of entries will show up. Choose the “Manage Fonts” option.

Check broken links –

If you already have a site built, or at least part of a site, it’s essential that you test for broken links. You never know when you might have made an error. Go to the site map, right click on any file, and then select “check links”. You get the option to either check links within the selected folder or file or the entire site. Fix dead links by using the folder icon to select the correct files.

Analyze code quickly –

It might seem like a daunting task to look over a bunch of coding, but it doesn’t have to be. You can spotlight specific code by choosing the Enable Code highlighting option under the Technology Preview section. Once enabled, double-click on ay tag to highlight ALL uses of that tag on the current page. This is a very useful function if you are trying to learn how to code, as it helps you to identify your mistakes.

PCMag.com states that Dreamweaver CS6 is“far away the world’s most powerful web editor”. We can only imagine what it will be like another 20 years from now.

Michael Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships in the United States and Asia. He is also a contributor to The Huffington Post, FastCompany and Business Insider as well as and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy Podcast You University. 

7 Out of 10 Mobile Apps Fail Due to Lack of Strategy

Saturday, 10 December, 2016

For business owners out there looking to cash in on the money-making machine that’s known as mobile applications, be aware that the majority of apps are getting downloaded fewer than 500 times a day, and only the top 5% of all apps in Google Play and Apple’s App Store are generating more than $1250/day in revenue.

These numbers are nothing new, stemming from a Gartner report published in 2014. However, instead of just predicting most apps will fail, I propose one of the key reasons for so many apps not managing to become successful.

When we talk about mobile applications, most people are thinking of games, Facebook- and Snapchat-like apps, when in reality enterprise applications are among the top in terms of project costs and amount of money invested.

These enterprise apps are also among the most successful, because they’re specifically designed to eliminate certain issues, always solving a specific problem such as managing remote workers, keeping track of inventory throughout retail stores worldwide, and other complex solutions.

Compared to the vast majority of publicly available apps, this is one of the key differences. Looking at Google Play or Apple’s App Store, there’s a large number of so-called “life-enhancing” apps, tracking your fitness level, making sure you can find that song you heard on the radio, or something else along those lines.

While some of these apps are doing quite well, both in terms of active users, and revenue generation, most of them are not. And while more than 1 billion downloads happen on both App Store and Google Play respectively, the majority of those downloads come from the same top 50 or top 100 apps, leaving the rest of the 2 million apps in either store left fighting over the scraps.

I’ve looked at 100 random apps on Google Play over the past week, and come to the conclusion that the single most common reason that an app fails comes down to bad strategy.

This term covers a few different aspects, so let’s go over each reason in detail:

  • Target audience too small
  • No App Store Optimization
  • Bad Marketing Strategy

These 3 reasons can be applied to more than 90 of the 100 apps I looked at, while the remaining apps had very specific reasons for not performing well, and so those last apps are not of general interest to us.

Target audience too small

Let’s consider the fact that some of the apps I looked at had been featured on TechCrunch, Mashable and other large worldwide websites with millions of monthly visitors.

Some of these apps even had great ideas and concepts that were unique and solving real problems, but the issue with those was the fact that not enough people had those problems.

Let’s face it, you’re never going to reach 100% of your target demographic. In fact, if you ever reach 30% or more, I’ll consider you a stunning success.

The reality is, that on average, you’re more likely to reach 1-5% of your target user group with a successful campaign and strategy running.

Then you have to consider that out of all your visitors and users, there’s a conversion rate, meaning that not all of your visitors will buy your subscription, or pay for your app. That number is also around 1-5% depending on the market.

So if your target demographic is American Fishermen on the East Coast, there are only X number of those users. Let’s say 100,000. Out of those 100,000 you are reaching 20% because you’re awesome at marketing, and your app is great so people talk about it.

That means you have 20,000 people reading about your app, visiting your website or your app store entry. Great right? It would be, if all those converted into app downloads or subscriptions.

The problem is, that out of those 20,000 people, you only convert 5% (let’s be optimistic.)

That means you only get 1,000 downloads in total, and that’s with a successful app and marketing strategy in place. Of those 1,000 downloads, you then have the problem of retaining users, meaning that 9 out of 10 apps downloaded are only opened once, then forgotten or uninstalled.

So in the end, you are left with a very small amount of users, even though you managed to run a great campaign, create a great product, and convince a large amount of people of your app idea.

No App Store Optimization

This is one of the single largest factors in why apps are not successful. Most apps I looked at had fairly unique ideas, or at least performed a valuable service or function which should prove useful to a lot more people than currently downloaded the apps, meaning that not enough people knew about them.

While ASO is mainly associated with keywords and app names on the stores, ASO goes beyond that, and is an ongoing process, much similar to SEO for website owners. And also like SEO, ASO is not directly comparable to App Marketing, although they do certainly overlap in some areas.

This means that it’s necessary to devote a continuous amount of effort and resources to put into this aspect, but it is not the same as old fashioned marketing either.

Establishing an online and offline presence that allows the maximum amount of eyes to see your mobile app is vital to ensuring a successful app launch, and is the single most important thing in my opinion.

If you’re not sure about app store optimization, I advise you to read up on the topic, as there’s a huge potential here for anyone not having done so already.

Bad Marketing Strategy

Another of the most common problems I saw was how badly managed or lacking the marketing efforts were.

Either the creators relied on their app idea and concept going viral, which at best provides a spike in traffic which then again dies out, or the app did not go viral, and the traffic never even got started in the first place.

Someone has said you should spend 20% of your budget on app development, and 80% on app marketing. I agree with this sentiment quite a bit.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule of thumb, but the point you should understand, and accept, is that the app itself could be the greatest thing out there, but if nobody is talking about it, and nobody is linking to it, then nobody will ever find it or download it.

So consider how to market your app, even before you start development. In fact, if you can not create a good marketing strategy that you yourself believe wholeheartedly in, perhaps you should not develop that app after all.

Like ASO, mobile app marketing strategies are a topic in itself, and to become an expert requires significant time and efforts, and I encourage you to read more about this subject in detail if you’re in the app business.

Conclusion

It’s important to consider as many aspects as possible before beginning an app development project, and sometimes that means discarding an otherwise good idea, because it fails on a single aspect.

Hopefully that can be fixed, but if not, you should seriously consider changing your overall app concept to better align itself with the 3 key points above, which in my opinion are crucial for any app store success.

Mark has been developing for the web since 2001, always with a penchant for open-source technologies such as PHP. Since 2010 he has been working full time with app development, these days being employed at Nodes, a leading European app agency. He also regularly contributes to WordPress and other open-source projects.

7 Surefire Ways to Improve User Engagement on Your Website

Friday, 2 December, 2016

After setting up a website and wonderful content are being created regularly, it can be depressing if the user engagement is unimpressive. This challenge is often encountered by many websites. With the sea of content out there, the competition is really fierce. Belfast web design companies are concerned with creating a positive and powerful digital presence.

High user engagement makes a website to be more visible and promotes loyalty and familiarity. Here are some suggestions that will assist in keeping both existing and new visitors highly engaged.

1.   Request for opinions

As long as you keep adding value to your audience, they will readily express their views whenever you ask them for their opinions. This can be done by asking a question at the end of a post in a friendly manner. Through their previous comments and the type of posts that they enjoy reading, you can be able to come up with questions that will spur their interests. Asking effective questions at the end of posts will make the comments section come alive and lead to more interactions between you and the audience. In addition, organizing surveys and quizzes can also help to generate fresh ideas that are based on the audience needs.

2.   Revamp your content

It goes without saying that creating high quality content should be top priority for every website. Once they find your content useful, they will have reasons to come back for more and share it with others. There are always trending topics on social media and even in your industry, find ways to creatively use them in your posts. Keywords exist for a reason, utilize the relevant ones to make your posts rank well in searches. Perhaps you are the busy type, expert freelance writers can be hired to take care of your content needs. After your content is in great shape, it must be presented in a way that is appealing to the audience. This can be achieved by breaking pages, using subheadings, headlines and appropriate pictures.

3.   Give rewards frequently

People feel special when they are appreciated, it’s simply human nature. You can acknowledge your audience for commenting or sharing posts on social media channels. Another way to reward them is by hosting contests on the website’s social media pages. Your audience will be curious to know more and many will be interested in participating because of the gifts to be won. A call to action may be included in the contest that will take them to your website landing page. Mere visitors can become loyal audience in this manner.

4.   Consider using different types of content

Apart from using text based content, rich images and videos can also be introduced. Generally, website visitors find great visuals magnetic and entertaining. More people will also be reached within a short period of time. Pictures can be used for posts and the audience can be asked to caption them. When using videos, the most effective ones are short and convey the message clearly. One important thing to note is that auto play should be disabled on videos as many visitors find it annoying.

5.   Minimize page load time

Google takes the page speed of website seriously and it’s one of the basic ranking factors. Removing unnecessary elements help in making a website load faster. Images can be scaled or compressed before uploading them due to the fact that large images take longer to load. Outdated and excessive plugins must be eliminated at all costs to boost user engagement. Tools that analyze page speed performance include Website Grader and Google’s Page Speed Insights.

6.   Optimize sharing on social media

The importance of an active social media presence can’t be underscored for websites. It’s a great way to build an audience by interacting and providing value to them. Posts can be shared directly to the website’s social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn. Visitors that find your posts interesting or useful should be able to share it easily on social media and this can promote further sharing.

7.   Place search box strategically

Most of the times, a visitor may come across your website when using the search engine. The search box must be visible and functional so that users can search for information by typing the related keywords. It can be placed at the top right corner or at the center. As visitors discover useful content on your website, they will spend more time and come back for more. A search box is effective in reducing the bounce rate of a website.