CakeDC Blog

TIPS, INSIGHTS AND THE LATEST FROM THE EXPERTS BEHIND CAKEPHP

Errors to fix today on your site

Running a website can lead to massive success for you business, however, without the proper maintenance, you can be losing out. Some errors your site can be suffering from may be minor, such as spelling mistakes, however, there may be errors that can have significant impacts such as pending security updates. Let's take a quick look at some that you should fix today! Basic HTTP errors If there are HTTP errors lurking on your site, your visitors are probably getting frustrated. Make sure to constantly review your website for these errors. Some of the more common ones include 401, 404 and 500 errors. Spelling errors, basic content duplication and broken links These are all easy and minor errors to fix, however they can lead to your visitors losing trust in your company or brand. Invalid HTML Your website’s HTML needs to follow the published HTML standards and if not, will lead to invalid HTML. Having invalid HTML leads to a multitude of things including impacted/lower SEO rankings, reduced accessibility for visitors using screen readers and other assistive technologies and browser compatibility. Pending security updates and version updates Having pending updates can open you up to malicious activity such as website defacing or stealing of confidential information. If you have an update pending, quickly update today! Incorrectly inserted analytics tags Be sure to double check that your analytics tags have been added to your code correctly. You may be missing out on valuable information that will help you improve your website. Not sure what you are doing wrong? Google offers guidelines and tutorials to get any issues sorted out quickly. Lastly, be sure to ask yourself - Have you tested? Testing is another key part to the success of your new site’s launch. Be sure to not miss this step. Not sure how to properly test your site? Here’s a great checklist to check out. From how to test elements such as HTML, CSS, security and performance through to SEO and accessibility, this checklist will guide you along best practices when it comes to testing. Another important tool to make use of is the W3 Markup validator.  

Why Mobile web design is important

With mobile traffic continuing to dominate, its just as important to get your mobile web design up to scratch. The stats for 2017 show that mobile searches once again took the lead at 50% with desktop sitting at around 45%. When designing your web application, it is key to not only consider mobile web development, but to prioritise it. Can you afford to lose over half of your web traffic due to poor design? Search engines have started prioritizing mobile friendly websites - what does this mean for you? Google has understood this shift in user behaviour, and with their mobile-first search index already kicking in, now is the time to get the mobile version of your site in tip top shape. If your mobile site lacks the same detailed information as your desktop site, you will get hurt by this indexing. Not providing key detail on your pages will shift your overall SEO rankings. Mobile optimized web design provides a better user experience for mobile users. With such a high percentage of mobile traffic, ensuring that these users get the best user experience possible on your site is vital. By ensuring that your mobile web design is functional, you provide the user with key functional aspects such as readable fonts and headers, easy-to-click links and faster load times. There are a variety of free tools out there to help you assess whether your site will rank well or not. If you are optimising your SEO and web design efforts for Google, then take a look at these three key tools that are vital to all developers. Google’s mobile-friendly test allows you to simply enter in your website URL and run a quick check to determine if you site is mobile friendly. While this tool is great for seeing how Google ranks your site, it doesn’t provide any detail in the site’s strengths and weaknesses. Google’s page speed insights tool allows you to assess the load speed times of your site. As well as providing a score, it also provides detail into how you can go about fixing the page speed. Google’s webmaster tools mobile usability test shows you even more detail into the usability of your mobile site. With many great free resources, as well as many insightful blog posts, you too can get your mobile site optimized for your user. CakeDC provides both development and consulting services, ensuring that you are left with the best web application solution. If you are in need of a full scoped development project or are simply looking for guidance and expert knowledge for your application, CakeDC is the team to contact.

Tips for building custom apps

Sometimes all your website needs is a bit of added functionality and increased interactivity. Custom applications can make or break your user experience, here are some of the key things you should look out for when getting your custom applications developed. Consider tooltips to guide users Sometimes custom applications require certain actions from the user. Tooltips allow you to help the user along without cluttering the interface. Include progress notifications Tell the user if something has been processed successfully. Including feedback notifications such as “loading” or “please wait” can help your users understanding of your application. Keep familiar patterns and navigation within your application Users will find the experience of using your custom application if a similar navigation is used - keeping familiar patterns can be achieved through various methods such as keeping information in the same areas on every page. Keep pop-ups to a minimum or have none at all! Pop ups distract and interfere with a user's experience. Limit the use of these to a minimum - only including key and critical information if used. Ensure log-in or entry information simple and easy If your application requires a user to log in or provide certain information before accessing the content, it's important to keep this requirement simple. Having high entry barriers or information required can stop a user from actually using your application. Design your custom application for your target audience Who do you see as the ideal user of your application? Avoid technical jargon or unfamiliar terms or processes. Are you designing a shopping cart for users accustomed to online shopping? Then keep up-to-date with the latest best practices from top ecommerce sites and follow their lead. Are you looking for a custom application? Contact CakeDC, the experts behind CakePHP.  

Simplicity is important - here’s why

When it comes to web design, simplicity is not valued enough. Simplicity is important - but why? Simplicity reduces navigation confusion, makes the website look more sophisticated and can help in increasing site conversions (sign ups, contacts). All too often, web designers tend to miss the point of simplicity and over do the amount of information given on a single page - the need to get everything across at once can seriously hinder how much a website visitor is able take in. Over complicated pages can lead to higher than average bounce rates or lower on-page conversions. We thought we’d share with you some top tips to simplify your website.

  • Keep things along the 80-20 rule
    • Use the Pareto principle which is that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This means taking away as much as you can from your design that will not lead to any type of conversion. Take things back to the bare essentials and make those work properly
  • Embrace few colors in your theme
    • Does a monochrome color scheme work for you? If not, try out as few colors as possible. Work towards a design that requires less effort for your website visitor to process. Fewer colors will also give your site a sleek, classic look
  • Keep copy short and sweet
    • Embrace compelling copy but keep things shorter and to the point. Make your point quickly and keep things easy-to-read by sticking to a few key points. Use shorter sentences, and keep paragraphs to a maximum of 3-4 sentences for easy reading.
  • Fix your navigation
    • Often many sites have over complicated and lengthy navigation options. Remember to include navigation to your list of things to simplify today. Keep important and key pages in your navigation bar. Remove excess clutter and keep all navigation menus visible. Other key things to keep in mind is the use of universal icons as well as ensuring a sitemap in your footer - these are all standard items that visitors look for.

How Much Does it Cost to Design a Site?

If you are in the market for a website or application, it can sometimes be daunting. Being unsure of where to start, which development firm to use or how much the whole process is going to cost you can be truly overwhelming. And then there are those horror stories of others, who selected a developer based solely on cost (the cheapest quote perhaps) and ended up majorly down the hole with their budgets, while owning a unfinished website. Whether you are in the market for a website application with a specific outline and goal, or have a rough idea of what you need your application to do, how do you go about finding the best selection for you? And then how do you know that whoever you select is going to deliver what you want and in the time frame that you need it? And then, not knowing how to code yourself, you can land up frustrated at not understanding the process - especially if your development team gives you the runaround. At CakeDC, we are committed to a transparent workflow - we've created our own git workflow (MIT license) and we've used it successfully with our clients for 3+ years and dozens of projects. We use it to accelerate growth and innovation providing the highest quality application development. What sets CakeDC apart from others is that our experts listen closely to your needs. Second, we formulate a roadmap of milestones based on your specifications. Third, we offer guidance while delivering the highest quality results in a fraction of other developer’s time, by doing things The Right Way™ So how much is it going to cost you? Well this is of course dependent on what you project scope includes, however, we will work with you in determining the best package to suit your requirements. You can check out all of our rates and packages here. Ready to get your project started? Reach out to our experts today to see how easy it can be to get your application up and running.

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