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Are emails the best method of communication for web applications?

Calendar Posted 29th October 2010 | Category: Web Development | Feed Icon


When developing an online system the choice of communication mechanism isn't usually something that is given too much thought. It is common for users of online systems to receive "virtual pokes" by email when others interact in a way that directly affects them.

The nature of online applications, with users logging in and out at different times, requires a mechanism for syncing the actions of disparate users. However, it is always worth considering if the method chosen is actually the best way forward. One factor that should be considered is the volume of communication that an individual user receives - quite often users need help in organising large amounts of data and leaving them with an overflowing inbox is not helpful to the individual or the system as a whole.

One of our recent projects involved an online back office system handing thousands of user requests a day. The system administrators (of which there are less than a handful) had the job of manually validating some of these requests before they were proceedable. Our initial implementation of this system informed these administrators of each such request by email. Please note, this was entirely at the suggestion of the administrators themselves! Read more...

Why Use Our Hosting?

Calendar Posted 28th October 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


At Bluelinemedia one of the services we offer is website hosting. There are so many different hosting companies all charging very different prices it can be difficult to choose one.

It can often be cheaper to buy hosting for your website yourself but with our hosting you receive technical support. This can be extremely valuable when dealing with hosting as it can be quite complicated to setup and manage a hosting package.

If your website is not currently hosted then all we need is your choice of domain name and we handle the rest making the process of getting your website up and running on some hosting extremely easy for yourself. If your website is already hosted then we just need some details about your current host and we will then handle the transfer of the website across to our hosting. Our current clients find this technical support highly valuable and worth the cost of our hosting. Read more...

Office Tour

Calendar Posted 28th October 2010 | Category: Company | Feed Icon


Below is a short, simple video tour of our office! Read more...

Writing content for search engines

Calendar Posted 25th October 2010 | Category: Web Marketing | Feed Icon


In a bid to make their results more useful, search engines are placing an increasing value on the actual content of your web pages, as opposed to the "meta" keywords that can be nonsensical. This is a simple guide to writing content that works for your visitors and your search engine ranking.

One search term for each page

You should have an idea of which search terms you want to target, and it's better to have a single page that reflects each term. It's not about an endless list of keywords but sensible content that expands on that search term. If you want to attract people searching for "web design Cheltenham", then that's what you should write about.

Create the right pages

If your potential customers are searching for more specific search terms, for example including their industry or a specific application, then create extra pages to match them. This is not just about performing on search engines, but also about providing your visitors with the content they want. Read more...

Track your website enquiries

Calendar Posted 21st October 2010 | Category: Web Development | Feed Icon


When someone makes an enquiry to your business do you track the source of the lead? If not, then you could be missing out on crucial information and you won't know if any marketing activities are working.

By tracking the source of the enquiry and storing key information in something as basic as a spreadsheet then that gives you the information to look back through in order to make an assessment on what you can change about your marketing campaigns.

For example taking enquiries over the phone is one of the most common enquiries, so it is worth having a series of questions that you can ask to get valuable information about the enquiry. This could be details about the caller such as name, company, email and telephone. Also how did they hear about you? If their information is a little vague then you can prompt them with your various marketing campaigns. This is crucial as you can then work out which of you marketing strategies are bringing in the most leads. Read more...

Bespoke sales and project management software

Calendar Posted 21st October 2010 | Category: Web Development | Feed Icon


Here at Bluelinemedia we've started development on an exciting new internal project that's been in planning for a while now. It's designed to bridge the gaps between not only our internal processes but also between our clients and the progression of the websites we develop and maintain for them.

The first phase of this system is an online quoting facility that will be integrated into our Bluelinemedia website. This quoting facility is designed to be the first stage in a system that will provide information to clients throughout the entire life of any projects or work we carry out for them. It will also provide an 'all-in-one' system for each area of the company which is planned to create a more structures and streamlined work process.

At the moment a lot of our business processes are carried out using printouts and worksheets, so migrating these to an online system will not only promote a sustainable workplace but it will save us a lot of admin time which will in turn free up more productive hours that can be put straight into client work. Read more...

So, what's this HTML5 stuff?

Calendar Posted 17th October 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


HTML5 is the latest standard for defining website content. HTML is the coding language that web developers use to define the files web browsers present as web pages. Originally HTML was used primarily to define scientific documents, but has long since been adapted to present a wide variety of content. The latest standard has extended the original specifications in an attempt to encapsulate the type of media and functionality that is expected of today's websites and applications.

As with all web technologies, the choice of when and whether to use HTML5 in a live website is a difficult question. This blog briefly explores the advantages of HTML5 and whether it is yet safe to use them when developing a website for today's browsers.

So, what's all the fuss?

HTML5 provides web developers with new ways of delivering advanced content such as video, audio, complicated forms, geolocation etc. Essentially it brings a lot of technology currently only available through plug-ins such as Flash, back into the web browser. The obvious advantage of this is that content can be provided in a way that requires no additional installation and that can be presented and understood in a standard way. Read more...

E-commerce customer testimonial

Calendar Posted 13th October 2010 | Category: Company | Feed Icon


We're very pleased that our website www.poppysofexeter.co.uk (developed with Air Creative) has been extremely successful for our florist clients.

"The site has brought in over £6k in online orders to date and wedding bookings are up by an amazing 150%!"

It's great to hear, and we wish Poppys luck as the website develops. Read more...

Flash developer wanted for occasional work

Calendar Posted 12th October 2010 | Category: Company | Feed Icon


We don't have an employed position but occasionally need support with Flash elements within a website. If you're a freelance Flash developer or can provide Flash work on an ad hoc basis, please send us your details. When we get our next requirement, we'll email you for a quote.

Just email your details with some examples and typical prices or rates to Ben. No agencies please. Read more...

Quick guide to feedburner

Calendar Posted 12th October 2010 | Category: Web Marketing | Feed Icon


Feedburner is a very useful service provided by Google to allow your feeds to be monitored and then analysed. The Feedburner interface has 5 tabs, Analyze, Optimize, Pulicize, Monetize and Troubleshootize. At Bluelinemedia we are currently using Feedburner for our blog RSS feed and we find it very useful.

The Analyze tab allows you to view statistical information about your feed. This is one of the most useful items as it contains detailed information about your most popular feed items and number of subscribers. It also allows you to export this information as an Excel or CSV file.

There are many different services offered under the Optimize tab that help you to optimise your feed. These include services like FeedFlare that adds a footer to each feed item that can contain an email link, comments count, subscribe to this feed link, social bookmarks etc. There is also an option to make your feed browser friendly allowing it to easily readable regardless of what browser the user is using. Read more...

White label web build for designers

Calendar Posted 8th October 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


Like with many web design companies, when we develop a website or online software we credit ourselves with a link back to our website as well adding the project to our portfolio.

We are sometimes asked by our clients particularly our designer clients who would prefer us to remain anonymous to their end client. An example of this would be where a designer has secured a web design job and need us to complete the technical build of the website but remain anonymous to their client.

If required we will remove any references to ourselves and making some brand alterations to our CMS, making the whole package white labelled. We also exclude the completed work from our portfolio. Read more...

How to write a web design brief

Calendar Posted 7th October 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


A good brief will help you compare alternative web developers on an equal basis, and give your chosen supplier more opportunity to get involved. Here's a few ideas on what to include in your web design brief:

Your company

The more your suppliers know about your company, the more value they can add to the process, and you could learn a lot from the suppliers you don't actually use. Don't just talk about the cold numbers or lists of your business, but try to be more descriptive: Who is your typical customer? What are your values and passions? Why does your business exist? How do you want people to remember you?

Set some goals

Think about what you really want to achieve with your new website. What result would tell you that it's worked? Do you want to save time, or get more visitors, or just have a more professional design? What are the main actions you want users to take? How many enquiries, or sales, or visitors do you want? Read more...

How to use Google Fonts

Calendar Posted 6th October 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


Google is currently working on a font directory API (Application Programming Interface) that allows anyone to use high-quality web fonts on their website. Adding these fonts to your web pages is very simple.

Firstly browse Google's font directory and find the font you wish to use. Once you have chosen your preferred font click it and the click the "Get the Code" tab. This will give you a line of code you need to include in you page header:


Facebook and Twitter status on your website

Calendar Posted 1st October 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


With the increase in popularity with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, more and more clients are asking for their latest status updates and tweets to be displayed on their site.

To set up the live updates on these two sites you need to access them in slightly different ways.

With Twitter you can use the following link, altering the file at the end to match your twitter profile as well as the number of updates to show, so for Bluelinemedia our link is: Read more...

Designing for the web, not print

Calendar Posted 1st October 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


Here at Bluelinemedia, we work closely with a lot of designers who arrive from a print background. As a result we have a fairly good idea of the challenges designers face when translating their print experience to an online project. What follows is intended as a primer to help avoid the usual pitfalls.

Information Architecture

Before planning the design it is always worthwhile thinking about how the site will hold together structurally. Unlike a brochure or flyer, people will navigate through a website in a multitude of ways. They can arrive at different pages from search engines, jump around the site using an internal site search and even try to guess at pages that they think should exist. An obvious effect of this is that every page needs to be consistent in its presentation of both the brand and the user's location within the site. Regardless of whether the user has been on the site for 5 minutes or returned to a specific page using a bookmark, they need to be able to instantly see where they are and what they can do. Read more...

Enhance your website with JavaScript

Calendar Posted 1st October 2010 | Category: Web Design | Feed Icon


As Javascript becomes an ever more popular way of adding extra functionality to websites, it's growing increasingly common to find websites that are either bloated and slow due to their overuse of Javascript or entirely dependent on Javascript and unable to work without it.

At Bluelinemedia we believe that Javascript should be used only where it improves the user experience. We apply Javascript as the final layer of a website and only once the functional side of a site is completed (similar to applying the icing to a freshly baked cake). This approach is often referred to as progressive enhancement and allows a website to function in the same way regardless of the technology available to a user browsing the site. If a user has Javascript enabled within their browser an extra layer of functionality can be applied and made available to them.

A key reason for using Javascript in this way is that it ensures the website stays accessible to users at the most basic core level. Read more...

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