Tag Archives: Website Design

Mobile Website Redirection Tactics

I recently have been testing out mobile website design. Although there are some great free tools out there that automatically make a mobile website for you, I simply did not want THAT much content on my mobile site. I wanted a streamlined small interface with just my key services and phone links. PLUS I wanted the website files to reside on MY server, not over at Bing Local or over at Dudamobile.com.

I found a template at Dreamweaver to help me used JQuery to create a mobile website. You can check out the video and grab the files here. I was able to pretty easily customize the site and CSS, but really ran into a problem getting the site to show for mobile users.

Typically a “sniffing” script will be used to deliver content for mobile phones, but the scripts I found simply did not work. My Android smartphone still saw my desktop website. I found that the CSS declaration that identifies screen width and then redirects the used did not work for me, nor did several other php scripts. I ended up using a .htaccess redirect.

This is the code I used in the .htaccess file:

# mobile site redirection
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(.*).mccordweb.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/mobile/.*$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} “android|blackberry|iphone|ipod|iemobile|opera mobile|palmos|webos|googlebot-mobile” [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /mobile/ [L,R=302]

This worked for me. You can check out my mobile site at http://www.mccordweb.com/mobile/ but you’ll only see if on your smartphone, don’t got there with your browser. Mine is still a work in progress, but something that I am testing.


Working with WordPress Backbone Websites

I am in the process of finishing up and readying for launch a new website built on the back bone of WordPress. I have to say the website has turned out nice, but I wanted to share with you a few of my thoughts on using website built like this for search engine placement.

I think that if you want to save money on webmaster services, like the control of being able to add and update your content at will; a well designed website using WordPress has no comparison. But for people, like me, who are used to full and complete source code control for SEO purposes a website built with WordPress leaves much to be desired.

Professionals in my industry know that template based websites (and that is really what a WordPress built site is-  a custom template) do not allow you full source code control. Although the designers that have worked with me on building this site have really done a great job, there are instances when I wanted to name my uploaded images my own way; I wanted to custom design my site architecture and be able to change the names and structure easily if I needed to down the road; I wanted to add special design or style elements to my pages without having to create hacks to make the page work the way I wanted it to within the template constraints. In other words, there is an element of control, subtle though it may be, that is simply missing with a WordPress site versus a custom created, built from the source code up, website.

I guess with all new improvements to allow customers to control their own content there are trade offs, but I’m not sure that I want to lose that control for every customer.


Adobe Packages InContext Editing With Business Catalyst

I have reviewed and tested Adobe InContext Editing and felt it was a good product for clients that wanted to update website content themselves. Adobe has recently announced that it is closing the free standing version of Adobe InContext Editing and will now package it as part of the Adobe Business Catalyst solution.

Business Catalyst is much more than a website editing application it is an advanced set up business tools under one umbrella much like HubSpot. Business Catalyst’s strength will be however its significantly lower price when compared to HubSpot.

I have been testing the interface intensively and find the WSIWYG interface annoying to use for a power user such as myself who typically works in code view. To please people such as myself, Business Catalyst does allow full FTP access and can work on sites set up with Dreamweaver templates.

What I find intriguing about Business Catalyst is its arsenal of web widgets and easy to implement advanced features such as recording all form contact submissions into an integrated customer database for use by the sales team and an included e-newsletter application. The system can even set up email drip campaigns. Additionally you can do e-commerce on Business Catalyst as well with a very nice feature of being able to load all your products from an Excel spreadsheet versus having to enter each one manually.

The application allows the business owner to review on on dashboard all activity on their online business and allows sorting of information with an integrated analytics program as well. From my initial review, it looks like a very powerful system with a very low cost. This is a hosted application like HubSpot but instead of charging a monthly fee of $500 for a small site the fees range from $39 to $79 per month and only $16 per month if you only want to use the InContext Editing portion. To me the application has great potential.

One note of warning, the system IS complicated. I have personally decided that the premade templates are not a good fit for my needs, but will be testing my own template next in the application. Although this tool is not a good fit for everyone, it certainly points the way to the future of packaged business solutions. As the team says at Adobe, this is no longer just a website, it is an online business!