If this is the first time that you have been involved with the creation of a website, you might not have understood what members of the team meant when they mentioned the alpha and the beta stages of the web development process. These stages are actually part of the cycle that brings a website to life, and they are vital if you want to ensure that the client is happy with the finished product. So, what are the alpha and beta stages?
This stage is the part of the process that involves the web development team presenting their ideas to the client, who will then approve any ideas that they like and dismiss those that they don’t. This will not only include the design; the client also has final say on the functionality, layout and other elements of a website.
This stage is the part of the process that involves the website being coded and tested. The designs approved by the client in the alpha stage are coded so that they are completely functional on the internet; the client is then provided with a copy of what the website will look like and testing commences to make sure that everything is working as expected.
These are not, of course, the only stages involved in the web development process – there are many other steps that must be completed before and after the alpha and beta stages to ensure that the finished website meets the client’s expectations, including: the pre-alpha stage (which involves idea conception) and release stages (which involve the site being made ‘live’).
It happens to the best of us – we get so caught up in the excitement and costs of a new website that we just want to share it with the world and ensure that we actually get some visitors. Some of the online marketing techniques that people implement, however, tend to do more harm than good. These are the top 5 techniques that you should avoid at all costs:
- Unsolicited bulk emails – It doesn’t matter whether you sent out these emails with good intentions or not, unsolicited mail is labeled spam and you could end up with a blacklisted server.
- Black hat SEO – Some people think using black hat (unethical) SEO is a great way to shoot them to the top. This can, however, result in blacklisting and even bans for your website.
- Dishonest promotions – Yes, offering free stuff is a great way to get people to your website. Doing so through a fake online marketing campaign, however, is a great way to send them away.
- Excessive link placement – Many people try to add their links to as many forums, blogs, discussion boards and so on as they can. You must, however, only post links on sites that are relevant to yours.
- Promote half-finished sites – Don’t bother trying to market your website until it has been completely finished and made live. Promoting something that has been untested can really turn users off.
For some strange reason, there are still plenty of online marketing experts and companies out there that think the above techniques are fine to use in the promotion of their new website. Unfortunately, this is why there are plenty of websites out there that are getting penalized or just being blocked entirely; don’t let your site become one of them!
It is common knowledge that Flash-based websites and search engine optimisation (SEO) aren’t exactly a match made in heaven; search engines have extreme difficulty accessing information that is contained in Flash, often making for websites that rank fairly poorly. By using the following SEO techniques, however, you might be able to help a Flash-based site rank a little better:
- Create a detailed sitemap of your website. A sitemap is basically an XML file that provides search engines with a list of all the pages contained within a single website. This gives the spiders something to index.
- Include descriptive page titles and metadata tags, as you would with any SEO strategy. Make sure that your tags include keywords relevant to the page and your website as a whole.
- Implement a deep linking strategy that aims to get other websites to link back to yours. This is a hugely useful SEO strategy that could benefit Flash-based and HTML websites alike.
The above tips only scrape the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the SEO techniques and strategies that can be used in conjunction with a Flash-based website. It is important to keep in mind, however, that all the SEO in the world will not make a Flash website rank better than a HTML one; Flash was just not made to be optimised.
In short, the answer is yes. With more and more users turning to the mobile realm, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to optimize their websites for this use. These days, users are surfing the net whilst commuting to work or waiting in line – mobile web design needs to take these considerations into account to ensure that their needs are met.
- On pages that can be viewed on mobile devices, make sure that you remove any unnecessary information (tell users that they can access further information on the desktop version of the site).
- Include categories and content that is specific for mobile users. Whilst desktop users might want to know movie sessions a week in advance, those on the go will want to know what’s showing now.
- Try to remove as much advertising as possible; ads take up a lot of space, which can block information that your users want to see and force them to scroll (which they often hate doing).
- Avoid the use of scripts and other fancy functionalities that may not work on every single mobile device. This will prevent your site from alienating users (and potential customers).
- Try to write in brief sentences instead of paragraphs, as these can be difficult to read. Users also want the bare minimum information right at their fingertips.
By ensuring that your website is optimized for mobile devices, you can ensure that your business is always accessible by your customers, regardless of whether they are at home or on the go. Your mobile web design should focus on helping them to find the information they want in as short a time as possible; your success will be all the proof you need.