Archive for 'Web Development'

What is a Favicon, Why Would I Want One?

favicon exampleA favicon is sometimes referred to as a bookmark icon, shortcut icon, favorite icon or website icon. In most modern web browsers you will see the favicon displayed in the browser’s address bar next to the url of the Web site you are visiting. On this blog site you should see a red “ST” logo in the address bar of your browser window, similar to what you see highlighted in the graphic above.

Most browsers that support the display of favicons will also show the icon next to entries in your bookmarks or favorites lists. If you are using a browser which offers tabbed browsing, you will typically also see the favicon shown in each tab next to the web page title.

There are two very good reasons to be sure your Web site includes a favicon.

  1. It makes your Web site user friendly
    If your browser supports the display of favicons then you already know this to be true. The favicon makes it much easier to recognize a particular Web site you may be looking for in your tabs, bookmarks or favorites lists.
  2. Establishing and reinforcing brand/organization identity
    Statistics vary but most agree that it takes some repetition before people will remember your company or organizations visual identity. Use of the favicon is an effective means of building on that recognition.

Those seem like two compelling reasons to be sure that your Web site offers a favicon to its visitors. Your Web site developer should be able to install a favicon for you. If you need help you can of also look to SteadmanTech for help with this and any other web development needs.

Does Your Business Legitimize Your Web Site, or Vice Versa?

Times have changed. A recent conversation with a colleague and friend brought to the surface this concept that has been brewing in the back of my mind for quite some time now. Does your business legitimize your Web presence? Or is it actually the other way around?

There was a time (which todays youth would not recall) in which you might have heard about a new Web site or online service and the natural question to follow was, “Do they have an actual ‘bricks and mortar’ location?” That is to say, does this online entity actually have a real life storefront/office location? Or is it just an online presence. The implication was clearly understood to be that if there was not a physical location associated with the online business, they were not to be trusted. Or at the very least, caution should be exercised.

But moving forward now to today’s business environment, I contend that the core of this question has reversed itself.

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Is Your Domain Name About to be Slammed? Be Careful!

It’s late at night, do you know where your domain name is? It might not be where you thought it was. If you are not careful you may wind up as the customer of a company you’ve never heard of before, and they’re ok with that. Read on for five tips to protect yourself from domain name scams.

Domain SlammingSteadmanTech has offered domain name registration services for many years now. Over that time this business has had its changes, opportunities and challenges, but one thing has always remained consistent. There is always someone trying to trick my clients. Most notably, there always seems to be someone taking shots at Domain Slamming my customers.

Domain Slamming is a technique used by less than reputable domain name registrars who wish to trick registrants into switching from their existing service provider. The scam is almost always initiated through the mail and comes to you in the form of an official looking letter. These letters are very carefully crafted to look like an official notification that you are about to lose your online identity. It’s a technique perfected by the Canadian company “Domain Registry of America” who was eventually barred by the Federal Trade Commission from continuing these misleading practices.

Just as bad or maybe even worse than being the victim of Domain Slamming, is another common domain name related scam I would call a “Domain Switching Scam”. Once again you are usually approached through the mail with a very official looking letter warning that you need to protect your online identity. The pitch is that you need to secure your domain name before it expires and is lost for good. The scam here is that the document you’ve received is actually an order form for a completely different domain name. One you never owned to begin with!

Five Tips to Avoid Domain Name Scams

  1. Know Where Your Domain Name is Registered — Be sure you know who your official domain name registrar is so you know which solicitations are legitimate and which are not.
  2. Check Your Domain Name Registration Details — By running a Whois search on your own domain name you can verify all of the registration details including who the registrar is, who is listed as the domain name registrant (owner), when the domain name is set to expire and more.
  3. Keep Domain Registration Contact Information Current — This is very important to assure that you do not lose control of your domain name. It is especially important to keep your contact email address(es) up to date. These addresses are usually the first line of communication your domain name registrar will use to contact you and are sometimes used to verify your identity as the true domain name registrant.
  4. Never Respond to Solicitations Via US Mail — In every case that I am aware of, current domain name registrars first line of communication is always via email, NOT by US Mail (it used to be different). In at least 90% of all scam solicitations I have ever seen, the communications are sent via US Mail. Some used to come via your fax machine, but that practice has largely faded away.
  5. Renew Your Domain Name Well Before Its Expiration Date — Most domain name related scams are initiated in the last six months of an active domain registration period. Remember that you can renew your domain name registration at any time and you DO NOT LOSE ANY OF THE CURRENT REGISTRATION PERIOD. Anytime you renew a domain name registration, the renewal period is added to the existing registration period, extending the registration from that point forward.

Your Business Doesn't Need Social Media, Or Does It??

Social Media logosMaybe you have looked a little and toyed with a social media outlet here or there. Maybe it was YouTube, Twitter or Flickr. Did you come away thinking “This is just a big waste of time for my business. I don’t care what someone is having for lunch today!”. Well, if you place any value on how Google sees things on the web, you just might want to think again! With or without your business included, social media has become an online force of growing strength and scale.

At least for the time being, Google seems to be placing some premium on the placement of social media in their search results. Companies who participate in these forums find that their social media presence is listed highly in Google results. For these companies, this can only be a good thing.

StarbucksAs an example, in a recent Google search for “Starbucks” there were three separate social media related results in the top 20 listings, they included Twitter, Facebook & YouTube. Of the remaining seventeen results in the search, only four were generated from the starbucks.com domain itself. By the effective use of social media, Starbucks nearly doubled the number of top 20 listings in this Google search result, which pointed to web pages under their direct control!

Starbucks is just one of many examples of the same thing happening over and over again. It is routine now for more and more nationally recognized companies and brands to use social media as tools in their arsenal to communicate with current and potential customers.

comcast-logoComcast is a well known example of a nationally known company using social media to communicate directly with their customers. Specifically, with their many accounts on Twitter (most notably @ComcastCares) Comcast uses the Twitter platform as a tool to interact with their customers directly and nearly in real time.

So what exactly is Comcast doing? They constantly monitor discussion on Twitter looking for any references to their company. When they do find a disappointed, or flat out irate customer, they immediately open up the lines of communication. They take customer service directly to the disappointed individual and solve the problem as quickly and professionally as possible, in a very public forum. The result is a bad situation which has been turned into a good one. Comcast wins, and their customer wins.

So maybe you do want to think again about how social media might benefit your company. Sure, some people are contributing mundane details of their day on these forums, and what is really wrong with that. Your business however, can use these tools in a very different way and end up with better search results, better customer communications, some positive public image and a thriving business! And there is nothing wrong with that!

Zooming Hi-Res Images from Any Web Site

Zooming Flower imageYou can now deliver hi-resolution images from virtually any web site, with NO SLOW DOWNLOAD TIMES! These images are interactive and impressive. Through a very intuitive interface your site visitors can zoom into the on-screen image to see the finest details. All without any special software or plug-ins and, most importantly, NO slow downloads. This level of image detail can change the way you think about your web site and lends itself to many applications such as:

  • Hi resolution product images
  • Detailed real estate site views
  • Detailed electronics/components
  • Hi-res scanned documents
  • Much, much more…

The images are stored on your own web server and delivered to the viewer as needed. This allows the download time to be minimal while offering the image viewer an extraordinary level of detail for viewing. As the viewer zooms in on the image the online system delivers only that part of the image which is needed, leaving the remaining hi-resolution image data on the server but ready for retrieval on demand.

It has to be said that although you may not have seen this technology in action before now, it is not new. It has changed over the years making this visual image presentation tool more and more user friendly. There is no need for any plug-in downloads or unique software for your site visitors. The presentation platform is Flash based, a mechanism that is now very much the norm and not the exception. Any typical modern web browser application should be able to deliver these incredible images to site visitors without any troubles at all.

SteadmanTech has numerous image samples you are invited to view from our web site. The samples are generated from original images ranging from 50MB – 140MB in size. This technique can however be applied to images much much larger, hundreds of megs and even multiple gigs in size! The possibilities are endless.

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