Things You Should Never, Ever, Ever Do On Your Website

Website Maintenance That Won’t Crash Your Site!

Here at ITD Interactive we’ve had 20 years in the business of web development, website maintenance services, and website hosting for local clients and beyond. In that time we’ve also taken over some old websites that needed to be redone and spruced up. It’s in that work that we’ve come across many web design no-no’s that you should never do yourself.

Part of our standard web design package includes staff training so that our clients will always be able to update their own sites. While we’re happy to continue working on sites if needed, we don’t believe in forcing clients to use us exclusively for their maintenance and updates.

For those of you want to be adventurous and update your own sites, take a look through this list of what NOT to do first.

DON’T: Self-host a video for a website background

Using a video as a hero background is a great way to add motion and personality to your site. But be careful when setting it up – uploading your video directly to your media folder could bring your whole site down.

Look at it this way: on average a looped video file that’s been processed for use on the web is still going to be about 5 megabytes. If one or two people open your website and download that file, it’s no big deal. But if for some reason you get a rush of 200 people looking at your site all at once, suddenly 200 people are trying to download that 5mb file at the same time and using up a gigabyte of bandwidth. For many lower-end hosting plans that can be a huge chunk of your monthly allotted bandwidth, and using that much at once can even entirely crash your site so that nobody will be able to look at it without a time-consuming and expensive support call.

Do this instead: Plan ahead for these traffic rushes by using a third party site to host your video. Many slider plugins will let you easily paste in the URL of the video and display it perfectly on your slider without using any of your bandwidth. This should go for any video, not just backgrounds! There are plenty of great options available for video hosting like Vimeo or even YouTube.

DON’T: Upload full-size images

Just like self-hosted video files, it would only take a few huge images on your website for a traffic rush to bring your server to a crashing halt. Raw files that come straight off a phone or camera can be 10mb in size or greater, so uploading lots of these will burn through your allotted bandwidth and disk space more quickly that you can imagine. It’ll also drive your users crazy if they have to wait for huge files to download before the entire site can be seen, especially if they’re using a mobile phone on wireless data to view your site.

Do this instead: Process your images first before uploading by resizing and optimizing them in a program like Photoshop. If you don’t have access to Photoshop there are free alternatives online like Pixlr. For most uses your image shouldn’t need to be larger than 1920px on the longest side at 72 PPI, compared to the huge 2500px+/300 PPI files from your smartphone or camera. You can save your images in JPG format for most situations – you should only need a bulkier PNG or a GIF in special circumstances that require higher definition or a transparent background.

DON’T: Forget about the mobile version of your site

More than half of the visitors to your site will view it on a mobile device. Not only that, but Google now actively penalizes sites that aren’t optimized for use on mobile. It’s absolutely crucial to work on the mobile view of your site alongside the desktop view! Ignoring this step when adding or changing content will result in frustrated mobile users leaving your site and Google knocking it down in search engine ranking.

Do this instead: Always test your site in a mobile view when adding new content. Use a phone or tablet to open your site, or if you don’t have one available you can resize your browser window into a vertical ratio to get a good idea of how your site will look on a mobile device. Make changes as needed to make sure all of your content can be viewed and navigated normally.

These are a just few of the major no-no’s to watch out for in website maintenance, but believe us when we say there will always plenty more lurking. Keeping a website up and running with fresh content is crucial to any business

If maintaining your own website is becoming too much of a burden, talk to us about our maintenance plans!

We’ve got a package to fit any size business with any size budget and will work with you to make sure your website is always updated and filled with fresh content tailor made to boost your presence. Contact us today to find out how to get started.

Why You Should Use Local Web Designers for Your Local Business Website

The business climate has been great for locally owned and operated businesses for the last several years. Many people feel a renewed sense of community. Supporting local small businesses is the perfect way to start loving where you live!

From restaurants and breweries to manufacturers and industrial facilities, local businesses are booming and they all have one thing in common: they need a well-designed website to stand out, search engine optimization to be found, and a social media strategy that will help them engage with the local market. That’s where your friendly neighborhood local web design and marketing firms like ITD Interactive come in!

Local Web Designers Understand Your Market and Customers

We understand your market because we are your market! We spend a lot of time examining and researching the local market for the same reason any local business does: to look for ways to expand our reach and find new customers. A local design firm will have a better understanding of how to reach local customers than a group from hundreds of miles away who may have never even stepped foot in your market before.

Here at ITD Interactive we always try to support our local businesses in the Tri-Cities. There’s no better way to understand how to reach customers of a business than to be a customer of that business yourself.

Local Web Designers Are a Part of Your Local Network

Since we all work in the same business community, there’s a good chance that we’ll know more than a few of the same people. This is a perfect opportunity to get real-world reviews. Just ask someone you know who’s worked with us! Every local business owner knows there’s no advertising better than good word-of-mouth. Take a look at our portfolio and testimonials to get an idea of who we’ve worked with.

Local Web Designers Are a Phone Call or Quick Trip Across Town Away

A quick Google search is all it takes to know there are a lot of options out there when it comes to building a website. There are definitely a lot of talented designers in the field. But there’s always a catch! If you’re a small business owner in Johnson City, TN and decide to go with a web design firm in Chicago or even somewhere a little closer like Asheville to build your site, you’ll always be working around their schedule. Designers in other cities often have a lot of local clients. They may even be in another time zone or work a totally different schedule. It may be difficult to get them on the phone if you have questions about your website or if your site is down and need to get it back up as soon as possible so you don’t lose any business.

ITD Interactive is a Proud Local Johnson City, TN Web Design Agency!

ITD Interactive is a local web site design firm. That means we’re within miles of any business in Johnson City and a short trip from Bristol, Kingsport, and the rest of the Tri-Cities area. We’re in the office normal hours every weekday and will respond to you within a business day if we happen to miss your call. When you need to see how something works you can drop by our office any time for a hands-on tutorial. If you’re lucky you’ll be here on a day that JC brings in her famous chocolate-chip cookies – we’re happy to share if there are any left!

If you’re in the Tri-Cities and are ready to see the difference in working with local, personable web designers drop us a line and let’s get to work!

 

ITD Interactive - Inbound Marketing, SEO, eCommerce and Web Design

Why Does My Website Say ‘Not Secure’?

If you’re a Google Chrome user, you might have noticed your updated browser is now telling you that some sites are “Not Secure” in big red letters. If you’re a business owner with your own website that’s being flagged this might be even more concerning to you. If you’re wondering what this means and how you can fix it, read on for the full story about SSL and You!

Dealing with Not Secure Website Warnings?Google announced in early 2018 that starting in July their Chrome browser, the most-used desktop browser by a wide margin, would start flagging unsecure sites that aren’t using HTTPS encryption. HTTPS in plain English is the secure version of HTTP, which is one of the basic ways websites are accessed on the internet. HTTPS normally uses SSL for encryption, one type of security certificate that keeps private information transmitted on your site safe from snooping middlemen.

Think about it this way: imagine HTTP is the front door of your business and it has a standard doorknob with a regular old lock on it that you keep locked after hours just in case. HTTPS is that same door but with extra deadbolts added on to beef up your security and keep criminals out.

That’s not to say that any site without HTTPS encryption is automatically in danger of door-kicking hackers! If your site isn’t using outdated contact forms to send private information such as Social Security Numbers, financial information, etc., your site and its users probably aren’t in any real immediate danger without an SSL certificate protecting your site. The reason Google is enforcing this new rule is to encourage site owners to make the switch to HTTPS to create a more secure web with secure and encrypted sites being the default, not the other way around. It’s a great idea in theory, but the only problem with that is many security certificates can be expensive and difficult to install and maintain, many requiring yearly renewals.

If you’re a small business owner who needs a website and you’re scratching your head about all of this, that’s where ITD Interactive comes in! Our standard hosting package for WordPress sites includes a 100% free SSL certificate that we install and maintain for you. You’ll be automatically upgraded to an HTTPS site without any hassle or yearly renewal fees. Your site will be more secure and your users who visit your site in Google Chrome won’t get that annoying message that implies that your site is not safe to visit.  We can also offer more heavyweight worry-free SSL certificates for eCommerce and medical websites that need added protection for an added cost.

If you’ve already got a website you’re happy with, you can still take advantage of this offer. Switch to ITD Interactive hosting and we’ll move an exact copy of your WordPress site to our ultra-secure servers and get your free SSL certificate up and running in minutes. Click here for pricing and more information.

9 Traits Of The Best Website Design Companies

Awesome website designersIf you are looking for the best website design companies in the business, how will you know when you have found one?  What are the common traits?

We’ve been in the web design industry a long time and we’ve identified 9 traits that we want to see in our own business.  These are our own internal goals and these are things you should look for when shopping for web designers.

9 Traits Of The Best Website Design Companies

  1. Thick Glasses & Awesome Sweaters.  Now on to #2 . . .
  2. Set Deadlines – One question you should ask and most web designers will not want to give you a firm answer on is “When will my website be finished?”  We pointed out in How Long Does It Take To Make A Website that the answers, if they are even given, are all over the board and very few are specific enough to be meaningful.  What the average web designer will give you is a very rough estimate.  The project can turn into a nightmare-ishly long process in which everybody involved becomes frustrated.  That’s one of the reasons we developed One Week Website.  Both sides need real deadlines to get the job done efficiently and well.
  3. Meet Deadlines – It’s great to set deadlines, but what happens if they are not met?  Did you know that contractors in the construction business actually have monetary incentives to meet deadlines?  We approach web design in the same way.  If we don’t meet a deadline in our One Week Website process, you don’t pay as much.  Yes, we’re serious.  Make sure your web design company sets deadlines and ask them what happens if they don’t meet them.

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Looking for Website Maintenance Services?

Website Maintenance ServicesITD Interactive offers a wide range of website maintenance services for companies of all sizes and budgets.  Our web maintenance services are arranged in a series of straight-forward packages that allow us to discount our hourly rates based on the number of hours in the block.  This provides great value to those who need a higher level of updates per month – and the flexibility of using a smaller block of hours allows companies with smaller website maintenance needs to save money as well. (more…)

General, Mobile, Website Design, Website Maintenance, Website Maintenance Services, Websites