Website security with HTTPS and Google search rankings

By Nathan Vidal,

Google HTTPS

SEO SecurityRecently Google announced that it was going to use HTTPS as a ranking signal in its search results. This is part of Google’s push to encouraging webmasters to utilize the more secure https standard which uses encryption to create a secure connection between the website and the visitor. This means that Google may consider whether a website uses https in its complex algorithm for deciding how to rate websites. The company has however said that the impact of this signal would be “very lightweight”.

Should you switch your website to HTTPS?

While there are many benefits of switching over to https there are also costs. You will need to purchase a signed SSL certificate to verify your identity and there may be additional hosting fees associated with secure hosting. This may be a deterrent for clients with a limited budget or those who do not deal with confidential user information. If your website is simply intended to display information to the public using https may seem like overkill. On the other hand if your website requires users to log in or displays sensitive user data https is pretty much expected.

How does SeizerStyle Designs use HTTPS?

Currently our website, www.seizerstyle.com does not use https but this may change in the future. Our client portal at my.seizerstyle.com does use https however. We recognize the importance of our visitors security and since our portal contains more personalized information than our main website we protect it with a secure connection to our visitors.

What is the impact on search rankings?

It is too soon to conclusively determine what the impact on having a secure connection will be on Google’s search results. More emphasis may be paid on this ranking signal in the future or it may remain as a lightweight signal. Only time will tell.

 

Tech Tip: Gather data with Google Forms

By Nathan Vidal,

Tech Tip: Google Forms

Google Docs is well known for its online word processing and spreadsheet capabilities but it can also be used to quickly gather data from friends or coworkers. Google Forms allows you to create basic forms and save responses in either a spreadsheet or as a text file that can be downloaded. You can simply email the link to the form to all intended recipients. Their responses will then be saved in Google Drive.

Google Form Screenshot

Example of a Google Form being designed

There are many use cases for a Google form. A few examples are:

  • To share a menu with a group so everyone can order meals to be catered
  • To gather responses from a customer survey
  • To obtain feedback on a project
  • To brainstorm ideas with a group

SeizerStyle Designs Newsletter: 2014 August

By Nathan Vidal,

Newsletter August 2014

A website can be one of a brand’s most powerful tools if utilized correctly. It is available to the public 24/7 and can be updated as many times as necessary. For it to be useful however, your target audience needs to know that your website exists. Building awareness of your business/brand’s website requires proper search engine optimization as when as an effective marketing plan. SeizerStyle Designs is committed to helping our clients get the most of their websites and our graphic design and marketing services are designed to do just that.

Website Optimization

Web OptimizationSearch engine optimization (SEO) is one way of helping visitors find your website. By making your website search engine friendly users are more likely to find it when using search engines such as Google. In addition to this the speed and performance of your website also play a role in the user experience once a visitor has found your website. Visitors are reluctant to wait for websites that take a long time to load or which are slow and unresponsive. SeizerStyle Designs continues to monitor our client websites and use industry best practices to ensure that they are optimized to improve user experience. We have employed techniques such as caching, minifying files and removing redundant code to improve client website performance.

Custom web applications

Web AppsWebsites are not limited to being a public place for displaying information. Websites can also be used to provide very specific functionality within a business or for the general public. Custom web applications are basically programs that utilize the internet to perform useful actions. This could be simply sharing a document or  an entire room reservation system. The beauty of  custom web apps is that they are tailor crafted to a client’s specification and the client t SeizerStyle Designs we design applications to boost productivity and increase the speed and convenience of performing daily business activities.

Marketing your business online

Marketing Visit My WebsiteHaving an online  identity  is an essential first step to promoting your business but you also need to promote your website. One way of doing this is to include your website address on all your business correspondence. Your business cards, letters, email signature and even receipts can all include your website address prompting those interested to visit it. You can also promote your website more directly on social media by inviting friends and family to visit your website and share the link to it. SeizerStyle Designs uses all of these methods to promote our website along with many other marketing strategies. Ensure that you have a solid marketing plan for promoting your website to get the most out of it. For more information about our marketing services feel free to contact us.

SeizerStyle Designs Receipt Book 2014

By Nathan Vidal,

SeizerStyle Desigs 2014 Receipt Book

Design of the week (August 24 – 30, 2014)

SeizerStyle Designs Receipt Book 2014 Front

Front cover of Receipt Book

SeizerStyle Designs Receipt Book 2014 Leaf

SeizerStyle Designs Receipt Book 2014 Leaf

 

This design is an update of an earlier receipt book design. The receipt book has been updated to reflect a refreshed branding initiative. Through this update the receipt book is now similar to the company letterhead and other stationery. A watermark with the iconic SeizerStyle Designs “double S” is a central yet subtle feature on both the cover and leaf of the receipt book. Two circular characters are on opposite edges of the receipt book cover adding balance and personality to the design.

Design type: Receipt Book

Client: SeizerStyle Designs

Designer: Nathan Vidal

 

Designing custom web apps

By Nathan Vidal,

Custom Web Apps

Facebook Web AppsA website is definitely an ideal tool for disseminating information and creating brand awareness but it can also be much more than that. A website can also be used in a more private manner to satisfy internal business needs. Every now and then a client has a problem which can be solved via a web application that performs specific functions. Sometimes an application is already available that performs this or similar functions with the right configuration. There are many times, however, that no program exists that fully satisfies the client’s requirements. In those instances a custom web application may be the ideal solution.

Do you need a custom web application?

Custom web applications generally cost more up front than out of the box solutions but have the benefit of being specifically crafted to your intended usage of the application. This means you actually have an input in the development of the application. This can increase the efficiency of doing work which offsets the cost of the web application.

For example, a company may require employees to create reports in Word then attach them to a supervisor for review. The supervisor then emails the employee back so changes can be made or the report is approved. The approved report must then be saved on the company’s servers. A web application could allow the submission to be done online eliminating both the need for attachments and emails since the application will automatically email the supervisor once the report is completed. The user interface of the web application can also be customized so that it is simple and easy to use. Instead of having to jump between applications, employees can now use one centralized system which saves time and effort.

As the above example shows, a custom web application can be used to integrate business functions which fit logically together and reduce the time needed to perform simple tasks. Transferring data via a centralized application can also help with ensuring the security and integrity of data since authentication methods can be built into the application. f you require any of this functionality a custom web application is worth considering.

What kind of applications does SeizerStyle Designs create?

SeizerStyle Designs creates a wide range of web applications utilizing the same technologies used to create websites (HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, MySql). We also create Facebook specific applications that allow businesses and individuals to integrate their websites presence with the social media site. We create applications for clients as well as for our own internal use so we have a lot of faith in our development process. Since the scope and requirements of every job is different we consider them on a case by case basis. The best way to find out if we can provide the app to suit your specific needs is to contact us and explain what you are trying to achieve.

Tech Tip: Use a URL shortener to share long links

By Nathan Vidal,

URL Shortener
url_shortener

There are many instances when you would like to share a website link with someone else. You might come across something interesting, informative or entertaining but the original link may be long and not very presentable. While social media sites like Twitter and Facebook automatically shorten links you may want to manually shorten a link to include in an email for instance . There are many URL shorteners that you can choose from.

  • Bit.ly – Bit.ly allows you to create your shortened link and provides statistics about these links
  • Ow.ly – Ow.ly is another URL shortener which you can use after verifying that you are human with a graphical captcha

With most of these URL shorteners you can access more features if you actually sign up for the service. This may include being able to track how many times your link has been clicked and other basic statistics.

Happy 41st Anniversary Card

By Nathan Vidal,

41st Anniversary

Design of the week (August 17 – 23 2, 2014)

41st Anniversary Gold

This design was made for a very special couple celebrating 41 years of marriage. A digital greeting card is a convenient way of getting a special message across to someone regardless of how far away you are. Sometimes the internet can seem very impersonal but it can also be used to deliver very personalized messages which can make a big impact. SeizerStyle Designs also designs greeting cards that can be printed for a more traditional way of conveying a message.

Tech Tip: Check Google PageRank of websites

By Nathan Vidal,

PageRank status

Google PageRankUpdate: April 12, 2019

These tools to monitor your Google page rank are no longer viable. You are better off just following search engine optimization best practices.

If you are interested in knowing how a website you visit (or a website you manage) is ranked by Google you can use the the Open SEO Stats (formerly PageRank Status) extension for Google Chrome. These tools allow you to see the PageRank of the page you are visiting in the toolbar of the browser. They also give the Alexa rating of the website – with the Chrome extension giving more detailed information.

The PageRank is one of the systems that Google uses to weigh the popularity and relevance of websites. The higher your PageRank, the more likely you are to appear at the top of Google search results. Smaller websites may find it more difficult to increase PageRank but a low rating does not necessarily mean poor content. It may just be an indication that better search engine optimization is necessary.

Tech Tip: Use TeamViewer to remotely control devices

By Nathan Vidal,

Teamviewer Website

TeamViewerTeamViewer is a handy program that can be used for remotely controlling your devices via the internet. The program is cross platform and compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. It is also compatible with mobile devices and works on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 8.

There are many different uses for TeamViewer and a few of the common ones are:

  • Providing technical support to customers remotely
  • Remotely accessing files on a device in another location
  • Hosting or joining a meeting

TeamViewer Screenshot

The software does not just give unrestricted access to your devices.You need to provide your partner with the ID you are assigned and the  password before your device can be accessed by the partner. You can also choose to use a personal password instead of using the default password generated by the program.

TeamViewer is free for personal use with various licensing options for business use.

Tech Tip: Use two instances of Skype simultaneously in Windows

By Nathan Vidal,

2 Instances of Skype

Skype logoSkype is a popular software for video chats, VOIP calls and instant messaging which replaced Windows Live Messenger. The versatility of Skype makes it suitable for both business and personal use. If you have more than one Skype account it is possible to use them simultaneously on the same Windows computer.

From the Skype support website the steps for running two instances of Skype at the same time on Windows are:

  1. Click the Start button > Run (or press the Windows and R keys on your keyboard at the same time)
  2. In the Run window for 32-bit operating systems type: “C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe” /secondary
  3. In the Run window for  64-bit operating systems type: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe” /secondary
  4. Be aware that if you’ve changed the installation path for Skype, then you’ll need to enter the correct path for the Skype.exe file.

Related Links::

How can I run multiple Skype accounts on Windows desktop?