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Simple Ideas to Increase Your Web Presence

If your idea of a web presence is just having a website, think again. Although a website is a crucial first step and should serve as a hub for your brand online, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

How are your customers finding your website? Sure, your URL is on your business card and brochure but if your customers don’t know you exist that’s not going to help. Having a presence on the search engines for key phrases relevant to your products and services is vital. So put yourself in your customers shoes and come up with likely key phrases they may type into a search engine and do it yourself to get an idea of where your website ranks.

There are many different components to search engine optimization (SEO), including on-page and off-page optimization (link building), as well as information architecture considerations, so an assessment of your SEO needs is the ideal place to start and get an idea of where you are and where you could go.

Oh and if your customers are looking for your services locally PLEASE go to http://www.google.com/local/add/ and add your business now!

Do you have several unique products that can stand on their own? Separate websites or minisites may be a good strategy for you, segmenting your products and optimizing for search by using unique domain names.

Thinking about having a photo gallery or videos on your website? Using services like Flickr or YouTube can help you spread your brand beyond your website. Don’t forget to tag your photos and videos with relevant keywords and descriptions. Make sure your profile page links back to your website and brand the profile with at least a logo.

Do your customers look to the web for help related to your products or services? If you have the expertise and time a blog is a fantastic way to connect with your customers. Some questions to ask yourself include: What results are you trying to achieve? And who is your target audience?

Having a presence on social networking sites isn’t necessarily vital for every company, yet. It all depends where your customers are. For a quick test, try going to search.twitter.com and typing in the name of the product or service you provide. If you sell mattresses try searching for ‘new mattress’ or ‘new bed’ or if you’re a restaurant try searching “restaurants” near:”Halifax”. See anyone worth talking to?

Is your company B2B? Encourage your staff to use Linkedin. Again, don’t forget to link your profiles back your company website.

This is just the beginning of what you can do to increase your presence on the web, but if any of these tactics make sense for you, the time to start is today. If you have any ideas you’d like to add or any questions please leave a comment!

Web-Enabled Software Applications Are Less Expensive to Maintain

When it comes to computer software applications, in many ways we have come full-circle since the mainframe days of the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, corporate information was housed in central locations with strict rules for access and modifications. To use the applications, we used “dumb terminals”, whose job was nothing more than displaying information and accepting user data.

When the personal computer revolution came, much more power was given to individuals so that mainframe computers were no longer needed for simple tasks, such as word processing for example. This allowed for huge productivity improvements because it reduced the dependency on the IT department for anything other than centralized systems, such as billing or inventory control.

But then “islands of productivity”, as we called them, emerged with no central control, very little security, and no sharing of corporate data. The first step towards solving this problem was to implement local area networks which connected personal computers together and allowed for sharing of information.

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ASP.NET MVC Release Candidate

The ASP.NET MVC team released their Release Candidate product last Tuesday.  The team is still tracking well to their 1.0 release later this month.

You can download the RC version from the ASP.NET MVC web site.

On a semi-related note, there is also a MEAP (Manning Early Access Program) update for the ASP.NET MVC in Action including a handful of new chapters.  Currently the first 11 of 14 are available.

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jQuery to Ship With VS2010!

In a move to improve its tool set, Microsoft announced that the next version of its development flagship, Visual Studio, version 2010 will include the jQuery Javascript library.

Rich Internet Applications (RIA’s) represent a growing proportion of our custom software development. Using such libraries as jQuery or Prototype we are able to deliver rich client-side functionality that is cross-browser compatible with greater ease than ever before.

With this announcement, it is clear that Microsoft understands the trend and is looking for opportunities to capitalize on it.

For us as developers, VS2010 will allow us to build even better, more robust web applications that can run on a multitude of browsers and operating systems.

Gotta love it!