Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Image is everything, as far as Google is concerned

Search Internet BinocularsSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is the new buzz in web site promotion, and keeping up with how

Alt Text is a very simple way to allow images to be searched more easily.  Images taken on a smart phone or downloaded from stock photo services can be named with a long array of numbers and letters having nothing to do with the image.  Alt Text is the text that search engines use to identify images.  It’s simple to use and for the image above would something like <img src=”strangeimagename302908.jpg” alt”Search Internet Binoculars” />

Another important part of SEO is the speed at which web pages load.  Slower pages are ranked lower than smaller, faster pages.  It’s important to never allow the user’s browser resize an image.  Resize the images you want to use before uploading them.

Finally, you can rename your images to reflect the message you want your picture to convey.  For example; strangeimagename302908.jpg could be renamed search_internet_binoculars.jpg.  This will make image optimization more complete and more efficient to work with various search methods.

For more information, complete with visual aids, refer to this site from tutplus.com http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/seo-articles/optimizing-images-for-seo/.
it’s properly done is challenging.  One of the often overlooked parts of SEO is the role images play.  Recent changes to how Google values images in SEO have put an even greater emphasis on making sure images posted to the web are properly optimized.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A K.I.S.S. to Build the Web On

Many of you reading this article have heard the acronym K.I.S.S., Keep It Simple, Stupid.  This was   Johnson, one of the designers for the SR-71, handed a group of engineers a box of simple tools and told them to build him an engine that could be repaired using only those tools by an average combat mechanic in a battle situation.  This principle is still a bedrock of ideology in many fields today.
coined by Navy Engineer Kelly Johnson in 1960.

This principle is key in web design.  Many designers working today began using a simple word processor like Notepad.  While a vast array of design tools are available today, many designers prefer to stick with simple tools, simple design and simple schemes.  Nothing is more frustrating for  a web designer or their clients then having features of their web pages not work properly, or not work across many web browser platforms.  

This ideology is at the heart of SolTerra’s web design philosophy.  Our aim is to create sleek, simple pages that help your target audience relate most clearly to you.

So whether you are a web designer or a business owner looking to have a page designed, remember this principle that Leonardo da Vinci summed up by saying "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication".

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How It’s Made: Web Site Edition

Ever wonder how an idea becomes a web page?  Ask your local web designer and you might get an answer touting the importance of various coding languages and a little magic.  The reality is closer to a pragmatic form of art that has developed over the past quarter of a century.

With SolTerra Communications, this process begins with a thorough interview of the customer, much   Our mission is to determine, and sometimes help the client decide, what themes are important to the customer to make the point that a web presence is intended to make.  Our goal for all clients would be to distill as much information about their business as possible into the most concise package possible.
like a news reporter would give.

Another element of the interview is to organize the information the client gives us in such a way that it’s logical and easy for their target audience to understand.  If for example, our customer was a horse breeder, you wouldn’t want to have a category about mares listed under information about the care of newborns; thus putting the colt before the horse.

Once a good amount of important information has been collected and organized, the designer begins the visually creative process.  Most business pages of today need to follow a semi-rigid pattern of creation to allow for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so search engines can help potential users find your business more easily.  These parameters can be restrictive, but also provide a set of boundaries for building a web site that is most likely to attract customers.

With a firm grasp of SEO in hand, a design begins to draw, quite literally, the initial sketch, or mock-up, of the sites overall look.  It’s important to create an artistic theme that accentuates the desires of the intended design.  A web page for a horse breeder should make its visitors think of horses, for example.  The color scheme and imagery should all support the main theme, while constantly drawing the focus of the visitor to the content of the page.  A well designed page should be visually pleasing, but not distracting.

Finally, detailed content and information are added to the site, features are added and small design tweaks are made.  Several pairs of eyes generally act as editors to the final manuscript to make sure there are no errors and that the page has a pleasant appeal.

Next time you are surfing the web, take a moment and try to imagine how these design steps took place on the page you are on.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Web Developement Tool

SolTerra Communications is excited to release a new website tool for web developers and IT professionals. Web developers often discover that their clients know very little about the important Domain Name System (DNS) zone files and registration information pertaining to their existing domains and websites. Domain owners often times don't know who officially owns their domain, what company the domain is registered through, and what the domain's zone file looks like. SolTerra Communications has developed domain-report.info to put this important information all in one spot. Enter your domain into domain-report.info and this report will give you its best estimate on what the current domain zone file looks like, a complete WHOIS report that includes the name of the official owner, and what company  registered the domain. All of this is combined with a world-wide DNS propagation checker to see if the recent edits you've made to your zone file are appearing correctly for end users of your website. Currently there are over 10 locations around the globe, from Chicago, to Singapore, to South Africa, that all relay where they are finding your website and email servers.

"I originally developed this tool for in-house use at SolTerra, but I quickly realized this tool would be useful for many others," says Jeff Huxmann, owner of SolTerra Communications. "Domain-report.info consolidates the important information on a domain into one report I can hand to a client and explain exactly who owns their domain, and how their email is routed. Using the propagation checker, I can tell a client with certainty that their new website has gone live successfully. On a more technical level this tool trys to re-create what a zone file looks like and this can help web developers transfer the zone file to a new server. This is especially useful if you don't have direct access to the current zone file.

Currently DomainReport is a free service open to the public and paid for by users who click on display ads.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Apple announcement unexpected, as expected

During his lifetime and tenure as Apple CEO, Steve Jobs made a reputation for surprising the tech community with his product unveilings.  While today was no different in some respects, Apple CEO Tim Cook's product demo may have been somewhat disappointing to many Apple consumers.

A few weeks back many tech speculators had their own ideas about today's announcements.  Few thought Apple would jump right to the iPhone 6, and they weren't disappointed.  Two major products were announced; the iPhone 5C (C for Cheap or China, depending on who you ask), and iPhone 5s.

The 5C is a cheaper iPhone product designed to go after the world's largest mobile network, estimated at 760 million users, in China.  It differs from the iPhone 5 in many aesthetic ways, but offers few features above the current top model Apple phone.  You can get iPhone 5c in an array of colors and the device comes natively designed to be more rugged.  You can order iPhone 5c later this week (16GB $99 and 32GB $199 with a two year contract).

The iPhone 5s boasted over 200 new features, but only three were covered in depth during the conference.  The biggest improvements for the 5s are the A7 and M7 CPU chips, making iPhone 5s the "first and only 64 bit Smartphone" , according to Apple's Phil Schiller.

Apple also made several improvement to the built-in camera on the 5s such as; smarter flash technology for more natural looking photos, an auto stabilization mode that takes 3 photos at once and uses the sharpest parts of each for the final photo, and a better battery optimization.

Finally, the fingerprint security feature of iPhone 5s is something consumers have waited eagerly for more a very long time.

In addition to these new products, Apple will be rolling out OS 7 on September 18th, a free upgrade for devices that can use the robust new OS.

You can visit http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/10/live-blog-from-apples-iphone-5s-announcement/ to check out more information on today's Apple product release.

Friday, August 30, 2013

What is Your Social (Media) IQ?

Social Media began as a way to connect family and friends, but has blossomed into an
incredible tool for promoting your business.  This medium is so effective that it has become an essential part of any business that wants to know success in today's competitive marketplace.  The beauty of this type of exposure is it's relative low cost and the sheer magnification power it embodies.

The question we must ask now is; how well do we know this tool?  Everyone knows Facebook (it has an Academy Award winning movie about it), and Twitter is everywhere, but how about Bebo? DeviART? or even FourSquare?  

Check out this article udemy.com's learning blog about the top 10 types of social media and how they work: https://www.udemy.com/blog/top-social-media-sites/

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Need for Speed

The Need for Speed

Have you ever been frustrated because your internet speeds seem low?  You aren't alone.  A recent survey by Akamai called "State of the Internet" shows that the U.S. is slipping in the global ranking of internet speed.  While the United States ranks 9th globally in terms of fastest internet, evidence seems to show that U.S. internet companies are doing little to reverse this slide down the rankings.

It stands to reason that smaller countries like Japan and South Korea could offer a faster
network because of a smaller geographical area, therefore a smaller network to develop.  But these countries seem to be climbing these rankings mostly because of a focus on offering faster, better services.  While companies in the U.S. are content to tout their slower, more expensive products.  Google seems to be the exception, but their ultra fast Google Fiber is slowly crawling across the U.S. metropolitan landscape at a snail's pace.

Check out this article by Huff Post Tech for more detailed information about what other countries are offering http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/24/us-internet-speed_n_3645927.html#slide=1531965.