The Web Corner – Web Developer Checklist

It’s increasingly difficult sorting the good companies from the bad ones on the Internet. There are still ways to find the best, reliable web development companies. We’ve compiled this recommended checklist as a starting point. The order these are in isn’t necessarily important since ALL the points are very important!

Check to see if your web development company:

will ensure that YOU own your website when it’s paid for
is legitimately registered to do business within its State: NH MA ME VT
has been in business for at least 10 years
has several or more people
carries Workers Compensation on its employees
carries liability insurance
maintains a committed presence in networking groups
is accredited and has a good rating with the Better Business Bureau (https://BBB.org)
understands your community and reciprocates by referring business to you
has a phone contact where one can at least leave messages
has an email contact where one can send information
provides automatic site updates at no additional ongoing charge
backs up websites every night for at least a month
provides website encryption (SSL) at no additional ongoing charge
does not require hosting or domain contracts
does not overcharge you by selling you inflated monthly maintenance plans
provides partial hour web work billing (9 minutes work charged 9/60 of hourly rate)
can respond to most maintenance requests in 3-4 days
has general familiarity with trademark and copyright issues
is proficient with WordPress through experience and training

Over upcoming weeks check here for details about each. Contact us with any questions, we exist to serve you!

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The Web Corner – The Cloud Defined

So many services try to persuade us to access, link to, or download from “The Cloud.”

What is “The Cloud” anyway? A magical portal in the sky wherein lies knowledge and wisdom? Information stored in the atmosphere’s ionized particles? Aliens storing our information in flying saucers accessed by our Smartphone’s?

“The Cloud” simply refers to computer networks connected to the Internet. We’ve renamed something that’s been around for a while now.

When you’re using any device – whether it’s a desktop, laptop, smartphone, iPad, table, or whatever – that is connected to the Internet, you’re accessing a massive network of computers. This is often called accessing “The Cloud.” There really are no “clouds” involved at all. All of the servers and machines that supply all of the information we access all reside in various physical machines in many places all over the planet.

While all of what’s necessary to make the Internet happen is complex, it’s not magic. Dealing with local companies – a local “cloud” – really helps local economies. By lumping everything Internet into “the cloud” it’s easy to be helping distant economies instead of your own.

Local web companies can set people up in a LOCAL “cloud” where they can store the files needed to operate their websites to do business.

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The Web Corner – Web Hosting

Hosting is where your website physically resides on servers attached 24/7 to the internet. Here’s some info for finding a good web hosting company:

Local – Best sticking with local folks. Computers have glitches. Knowing someone who can explain issues is important.

Customer Service – Nothing’s worse than being ignored. Many companies don’t interact with their clients. Find one you can actually reach. Conversation shows if they can explain things in understandable terms.

Longevity – Ensure they’ve been at this a while. Lousy companies don’t generally survive the test of time. The longer they’ve been around the better they usually are at providing service.

Reliability – Backups are a must. Good hosters back up websites nightly. If your company is a reseller of services – a “middle man” – they’ve no control over servers. Avoid such an arrangement.

Security – Your host should perform regular server updates. WordPress sites require security updates as well. You should be able to perform those.

Contracts – Avoid contracts. Deal with hosters that allow you to quit when you want to. That way they’re always striving to provide good service – not just when it’s time to “renew” with them.

Contact us with questions. We’re glad to help.

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The Web Corner – Shopping Local

Here we are in the Shopping Season. Lots of business people talk about shopping local. Many don’t walk the talk. Shopping local works when it’s a reciprocal process – when we buy from each other. It isn’t always feasible – but making a best attempt is beneficial for most – and noticed.

The web is mostly about business. Stuff gets sold. It’s about making sales directly online and/or encouraging brick and mortar store visits.

I’m a strong proponent of local shopping. As a web guy – not a financial expert – common sense tells me spending my money in another part of the country (or the world) prospers THAT place at my neighborhood’s expense. Many businesses justify shopping elsewhere for web related services because they’re simply price shopping. Is that really the best deal?

Ask yourself “What is new business worth?” One single piece of business in a year due to a direct referral from your web vendor (or its employees) usually more than covers any perceived difference in web costs. Even if that business is the vendor itself.

Ask us WHERE you’re hosted so you know WHERE your web services money goes. Plenty of truly local businesses are right around you to do local business with.

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The Web Corner – WordPress

Websites don’t just appear out of thin air. They must be built. There are numerous products to assist with this. Many are what are called Content Management Systems (CMS). The most popular today is called WordPress. Nearly 1/3 of all websites use it.

WordPress Logo

A somewhat typical
WordPress logo

WordPress started as a blog software. It’s capabilities evolved over time to include pages, navigation and all the components needed for a web presence.

Just as anyone can build a home or paint a house or even perform their own dental work – anyone can make a website. All you need are the right tools and lots of time to spend learning how to do it, right? That’s why we hire contractors and painters and go to a dentist. WordPress developers save folks the time of developing the website – so they can be busy doing what they are best at.

WordPress software is free. However, website development takes time and is best done by professionals familiar with it.

Be wary of the promise of a website “anyone can build”. Those result in trapping you to a particular vendor – meaning you do not own your website. With WordPress you can go anywhere and most importantly you own the work you paid for.

Charles Oropallo (Charles@CharlesWorks.com) started CharlesWorks in Peterborough NH in 1998. His team does website design, hosting, search engine optimization (SEO) and related web services.

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The Web Corner – Introduction

Charles Oropallo, CharlesWorks founder, Peterborough NH

Charles Oropallo, CharlesWorks founder and owner, Peterborough NH

Welcome to The Web Corner!

Charles Oropallo from CharlesWorks in Peterborough, NH will be bringing you articles on popular web topics with helpful hints. Most are expected to be simple and some are for the more experienced. All should be useful and educational by many readers. We will address:

    • Passwords with our focus on making them secure – yet easy to remember.
    • Common Internet scam information about domain name renewals to perhaps save you a lot of grief going forward.
    • More Internet scam information about Directory Listing scams to again save you a lot of grief.
    • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in layman’s language and how it works.
    • Current web design products like WordPress – a free content management system for building websites.
    • Some information about spam and how you get onto those spammer’s lists.
    • Common myths and misconceptions about domain names aimed at helping you protect your online brand.
    • The ease (or not) of website self-maintenance for do-it-yourselfers.
    • The importance of shopping local and supporting your own community.
    • Things to know about email security on your phone or on your computer or on your tablet.
    • Website hosting and the advantages to local servers vs cloud storage.
    • The occasional pitfalls of having your friends help you with your web needs.
    • Reviewing your website now and then.
    • A little about email etiquette and things to avoid.
    • A common email extortion to ignore.
    • Secure Socket layers (SSL) and the surrounding hype.
    • Some tips and thoughts about choosing domain names.
    • Free counters and issues surrounding most “free” web stuff.
    • Info about a common “you need to update your email” scam.
    • A brief explanation of “the cloud” as applied to the Internet.
    • Social media – Facebook in particular – and how it relates to your web presence.
    • How long you have to get site visitor’s attention.
    • Who owns your domain and info about domain ownership.
    • Checking up on your web content and the minimum needed.
    • Checklist to help you find the best web developer.

And more! We’ll try to keep this page updated over time with the topics we cover each week!

There is a lot to share!

Feel free to email Charles with questions/suggestions. Check out The Web Corner each week here to see our new articles!

Charles Oropallo (Charles@CharlesWorks.com) started CharlesWorks in Peterborough NH in 1998. His team has provided website design, hosting and related web services for thousands of web clients on four continents.

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