Web

If it has to do with going online, you’ll find it here.

Using Google Analytics to Track Campaigns

September 23, 2016

Every business has goals. These goals can be thought of as campaigns in Google Analytics. For example, let’s pretend you own a small bakery and are well known for your homemade pies. To welcome the fall season, your goal is to offer a 10% discount on your apple pies purchased on your website.

You know in order to reach your customers you’ll need to advertise. read more

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John is a designer at Sephone.

I am responding! Are you?

September 9, 2016

A Volunteer Firefighter and Sephone Web Developer Explains…

There are Apps out there in our life from small games to Facebook and Instagram.  An App that I use a lot is for the fire department I serve on is iamresponding.com.  Although, you still need the radio to communicate on scenes, if someone has a pager and is in a bad area and can still use data and/or text message then they will be able to know they have a call and subsequently call in using the App.

This App is a time saver

Using it keeps you from needing to page personnel about an upcoming training.  Sending out a message through this App will also send a text message. One step.

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Alex is a developer at Sephone, helping to build apps and websites. He is also working on his Master's degree in Computer Science.

The Internet: 25 Years Later

August 29, 2016

For those that missed it last week, on the 23rd of August, Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s Internet was officially publicly accessible for 25 years. (Keep in mind that this is the birthday of the public Internet, not the technology that makes it possible). Certainly an event worth celebrating – so here are (in no particular orderSephone’s notable moments involving the Internet thus far!

The Dot-Com Bubble

The historic economic bubble, which took place from about 1997 to 2000, saw the quick rise of equity values in various stock markets. Related to the rising popularity and prevalence of the Internet, many business were born and died in this period (especially when the bubble burst). But some persevered, and are still well-known to this day – like Amazon! For more information on this event, check out this video series.

April Fools!

Every year, on April the 1st (better known as April Fools Day to some and Justin Russell’s birthday here @Sephone), the Internet becomes a vast expanse of jokes and pranks. The people behind the curtain do not lack a sense of humor, and each year is prone to relevant gags. Some are funny, but make no impact beyond the date and a good laugh – for instance, Google’s 2016 Mic Drop. Others, like the Tauntaun sleeping bag that was a joke item featured for the day on ThinkGeek, were met with such a response that the ‘joke’ had to become real.

Heartbleed

Sometimes, bad things happen on the Internet. One such bad thing was the discovery of Heartbleed, a bug in server security that allowed for those proficient enough to steal quite a bit of information. Login information, messages, and the like were easily accessible thanks to a vulnerability in OpenSSL. Luckily, this bad thing led to a good thing – the issue was patched in a new OpenSSL release. This, of course, meant a lot of extra work upgrading any exposed platforms, which helps to make it so memorable. Here it is, immortalized in a relevant XKCD comic.

The Death of Internet Explorer 6

A prominent issue that arises with web browsing, design and development in general is the usage of outdated web browsers. This is why cake is baked when a prominent dinosaur of the Internet is finally put to rest. Internet Explorer tends to be a magnet for negative press, and the legacy of old versions of the software still being utilized certainly continues. The issue with this continued use of old software is both one of security, and also ease of access. As the technology that powers the web is developed, the software used to access the web must also be updated. Sadly, Internet Explorer has long held a tendency to update with explicit version numbers. This tends to make the process of upgrading a browser seem unnecessary, even though it definitely is. Luckily, Microsoft stepped in to slay their own beast, ensuring that the less than 1% of remaining users of the platform would move on, and experience the web more safely, and with a greater range of visual possibilities.

GMail and the Age of Better Email

Email has not always been a simple process – nor has it always been as beautiful as modern email clients make it seem. It is because of this that we remember the start of GMail quite fondly. Google helped to make email an accessible tool for all, but not only this – they also standardized the email experience. The layout of settings, as well as the overall appearance of the email client, has a huge impact on how businesses and people use the tool.

Kelly had this story to relate about the early days of email, to further illustrate its growth:

[…] I remember the first time I sent an email (1990-ish) to my boss who was less than impressed by the whole idea – we had a whopping speed of 9600 bps!  I was embracing the idea since we had many customers that worked for the Government, NIH, CDC, etc.  They used email to communicate.  So I sent him an email that said something like = Don’t be an old fogey.  Walked across the building and sat in his office and waited, waited. About 10 minutes later – it arrived.  He said, “See Cotiaux, I told you this whole thing is a fad.”

Honorable Mentions

  • The Launch of Google
  • The First Google Doodle
  • The Launch of Facebook
  • When Ask got rid of Jeeves
  • Saying good-bye to table-based layouts
  • The proliferation of WordPress
  • Archive.org and the WayBack Machine
  • Mobile Internet taking shape

We look forward to another 25 years of growth, frustrations and inevitable usefulness from the Internet. Feel free to share your historic stories in the comments below!

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Gary is a team member at Sephone, helping to design, build and maintain websites. He is also a web design student at the New England School of Communications of Husson University.

Why FREE isn’t REALLY free

August 9, 2016

How FREE services can quickly add up

Sometimes people ask why they should pay for a company like Sephone to build, host, and maintain their website when there are so many free alternatives-like a site builder tool or WordPress. Today, I want to explain why a “free” service can quickly add up to hundreds or even thousands and why paying upfront for a professionally built website from a company you know, can save you in both the short and long term.

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Why you should consider updating your website in 2016

August 2, 2016

A lot of people ask us why having a modern website is important. Many of these people are local business owners who simply don’t understand why they should spend more money on a new site when they already have an existing site. Today, we will look at some of the reasons a modern website is a critical piece of any modern business and what you are missing out on by not having one. read more

The Importance of Goal-Oriented Design

July 27, 2016

Let’s talk design for a moment.

I’m not talking here about visual design here (that comes after), I am talking about goal-oriented design. In the world of marketing, it is important to have a clearly defined goal that you can measure against. Maybe your goal is to get people to sign up for a newsletter. Maybe it’s to get people to make a purchase. Whatever your goal is, it is important to know and understand it.

By approaching design this way, you are able to craft a website that is designed around your goals. Far too many websites are generalistic, having lots of information and no clear call to action. If you don’t define what you want your users to do, your design won’t be as strong as it could be.

Not all goals are tangible…

…that is ok! For example, you may have a feeling you want to convey to a visitor to your site. Perhaps it’s a combination: You want users to click a button, and also feel good about doing so. As long as you have some idea in mind for the desired outcome, we can work with you to come solidify that idea into something tangible and measurable.

It is important that goals can be measured, because this lets you can check to see if the desired actions are being taken, as well as having a concrete way to show the return on your investment.

Talking to Clients

When we talk to clients, being able to agree on a goal, or set of desired actions for visitors of your site to take, lets us deliver incredibly robust purpose built sites engineered from the ground up to make that goal a reality. By having a clear goal, every other element can be built to support it, from your visuals to your sales copy.

Yahoo!: A History In Brief

July 25, 2016

With the announcement that Verizon is buying Yahoo! for $4.8 billion, I thought it might be a good time to briefly explore the tech giant’s history. From Stanford, through the dot-com bubble, and to the most recent CEO Marissa Mayer’s revamp of the company, Yahoo! has seen some changes – some good, some bad.

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Gary is a team member at Sephone, helping to design, build and maintain websites. He is also a web design student at the New England School of Communications of Husson University.

Upside down pictures

July 15, 2016

We recently had a customer come to us asking why the images they uploaded to their blog were upside down.  So we wanted to give a bit of an explanation for this and provide some options to help work around the problem if you are experiences this as well. read more

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Brady is the voice on the other end of the phone line when you call Sephone. He graduated from the New England School of Communications in 2009 and assists Sephone in building and maintaining our sites.