Worcester County Businesses

Reliable Business Directories combined with the Power of Inbound Linking

inConcert Web Solutions will be closed beginning on Thanksgiving Day through the following weekend. Our office will reopen on Monday, November 29. All website maintenance requests and website changes that are requested within this time period will be completed upon our reopening in the order that they were received.
Enjoy your holiday and Happy Thanksgiving!

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One of the simplest ways of updating your website is to update your photo gallery. Photo galleries, in general, provide great search engine benefits to your site. In many cases, as long as the gallery is not built using Flash, adding one image, will create multiple pages on the site for Google to […]

The web browser statistics have been released through October 2010. The stats are published monthly at W3CSchools.com.
Below are the web browser stats for October 2010.

2010
IE9
IE8
IE7
IE6

October
.4%
17.3%
7.2%
4.8%

September
.2%
17.3%
8.0%
5.6%

August

16.2%
7.8%
6.7%

July

15.6%
7.1%
7.2%

June

15.7%
8.1%
7.2%

May

16.0%
9.1%
7.1%

April

16.2%
9.3%
7.9%

March

15.3%
10.7%
8.9%

February

14.7%
11.0%
9.6%

January

14.3%
11.7%
10.2%

2010
Firefox
Chrome
Safari
Opera

October
44.1%
19.2%
3.9%
2.2%

September
45.1%
17.3%
3.7%
2.2%

August
45.8%
17%
3.5%
2.3%

July
46.4%
16.7%
3.4%
2.3%

June
46.6%
15.9%
3.6%
2.1%

May
46.9%
14.5%
3.5%
2.2%

April
46.4%
13.6%
3.7%
2.2%

March
46.2%
12.3%
3.7%
2.2%

February
46.5%
11.6%
3.8%
2.1%

January
46.3%
10.8%
3.7%
2.2%

In summary, since IE9 has been released we’re seeing a significant dip in IE7 and IE6 users, which is excellent! IE8 is staying at a steady 17.3% and IE9 users are […]

Screen Resolution

See the difference between resolutions?

Have you ever been to a website and the site is really small or really big and you have to scroll back and forth and up and down to see everything on the page? Well that all has to do with two major factors, what size the website was originally created in and what screen resolution your computer screen is set for. If you’ve been using computers for some time now, than you are more than likely familiar with the 800 x 600 screen size. As recently as 2003, this was still the most popular screen size and was very popular with web designers for many years. Special care was taken when creating web sites so that they displayed perfectly on monitors using this screen resolution – the web page width was usually 780 pixels (the 20 pixels were reserved for the web browser scroll bar).

However, over the years with increased use of high resolution monitors the number of people using 800 x 600 screen resolutions has gradually fallen. Now less than 1% utilize the 800 x 600 size, and since 2003, 1024 x 768 has been the most popular display setting used.  Over the years, as wider and higher resolution screens have become more affordable, and therefore more prevalent, the use of even higher resolutions has become common place.  Though 1024 x 768 is still #1 (22%), the last two years 1280 x 800 and 1280 x 1024 have started to gain ground, each claiming more than 10% of the market.

In order to keep pace with the ever changing technologies and improvements in quality, speed, resolution, color, screen size, etc., web designers are required to create sites that not only conform to the technology of the day, but be easily upgradeable as the technologies change.  This is one of the main reasons why it is critical when developing any new website that it is built with a content management system in place. Content Management Systems (CMS) utilize databases which mean that the majority of information required to display the website is stored in a database that can efficiently be applied to any compatible website design template. For example, a site designed with a CMS in 2002 with a fixed resolution of 800 x 600 could be “imported” into a brand new 1024 x 768 design, including completely different navigation, colors, layout, etc., therefore helping to keep costs down when keeping the site up to date.

The majority of sites currently developed by inConcert Web Solutions are in the 950 to 1000 pixel width range and most of our websites include a Content Management System built in. In our next article we will discuss some of the decision making processes that go into creating the design and where resolution of graphics, images, and text play a role.

DID YOU KNOW: If you need to zoom in or out on a website you can hit Ctrl + or – on your keyboard to move in and out. Hit Ctrl 0 (zero) to return to normal.

Website Expectations

Be Prepared When Searching for a Web Development Company

As a business owner, you know by now that a web presence in today’s world is a necessity. You could go the cheap route and grab an inexpensive design template with a built-in content management system for a couple hundred dollars. But how well will that templated design represent your company? First impressions are often made on the web and if a potential customer comes across your website and doesn’t connect with it, they will probably stay a potential customer. Here are the main things you need to think about before setting out to get quotes on website development.

Before heading into an initial consult or sales meeting with a web design company, we suggest you map out your needs. The representative will help you make decisions about certain features that you may or may not need, but it’s best to walk in with a basic understanding of what you’re looking for. Here we have outlined the most common website features and the price ranges you can expect to pay for them.

The Basics

Domain Management: A domain name is basically your website address (e.g. www.inConcertWeb.com). Use inConcert’s Domain Search at the bottom of our website to check availability of your desired domain name. Domain Management will usually cost about – annually.

Hosting: In order for your website to be seen, it must be hosted on a server. Depending on your needs, the pricing for hosting varies. Monthly costs for hosting are estimated at the following prices: basic hosting: -, eCommerce: -0, or if you need a dedicated server, the price will jump up to anywhere between 0-,000+. Be aware that if you go with the cheapest hosting company, you might be saving money, but you will not get much for technical assistance if you are to ever need it.

Design: For a custom website design, it is best you seek out an experienced designer or firm that can offer you up-to-date graphics that will give your web presence the ideal look. To save money, you could always ask if they have template options that they can customize for your company, just remember that a custom design will usually represent your company better. Be prepared to pay a designer anywhere between -0 per hour.

Coding and Buildout: The coding stage of your site is where it receives all of its functionality. You’ll want to make sure that you choose a web developer that is up-to-date on coding standards and will produce a website that validates properly. Website coding will be charged at an average of 0-0 per hour. If your site requires programming in more advanced applications such as Flash, be prepared to pay a bit more.

Common Add-ons

Content Development: Professionally written content is key to getting your website found by search engines. Hiring an expert content writer will definitely help with your search engine rankings because they know how to write for your keywords. Content development can run anywhere between -0 per hour.

Content Management System: This is one of the most beneficial website add-ons that you can purchase. A Content Management System (CMS) allows you to make site edits at your own convenience. If you find a major error within your website content and it’s 12:00 in the morning, you can immediately login to your administrative panel and make the changes yourself! Installation of a Content Management system can be anywhere between -0 per hour. Be aware that installing a CMS into an existing website will take more time than installing one into one that is in the process of being coded.

Blog: Though many business owners think they don’t need a blog, it’s because they don’t understand what it does. Blogs are extremely beneficial to your business and are absolutely worth the extra money if you can afford it. A blog installation will cost you 0-0 if it follows the same design template as your current site.

These are the very basic figures that you will need to work into your website cost. There are endless possibilities with additional features such as photo galleries, rotators, newsletter signups, etc. All of these prices really depend upon what firm you are going with and the complexity of the add-on. We hope you found this article to be helpful in your search for a web design resource. For questions about our pricing, please contact us.

Some information in this article was adopted from Mikal E. Belicove’s post “The Cost of Quality” on Entrepenuer Magazine’s website.
Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an Important Tool to Analyze the Effectiveness of Your Website

Google Analytics is fairly well known software created by Google. Analytics, as it is sometimes called, provides website statistics and tracking for an overall understanding of how effective your website is.  We recommend installing Google Analytics onto every website that we create.  Here are a number of reasons why:


  • It’s free to use and to access
  • There are books that have been written about it, so resources exists to learn more
  • There continues to be more and more development and new features coming resulting in an overall better product.
  • It’s made, supported, and developed by an industry giant, Google!
  • It is hands down the best website tracking software on the market, especially for free!

Now that you know why you should get Google Analytics Installed on to your site, here are a few tips to ensure you are using it to its maximum potential:

  • Make sure that the tracking code is on every single page or it won’t track all the pages
  • Exclude your IP Address from the settings so that Analytics is not tracking the clicks from your office
  • Setup multiple goals and funnels, it’s the only way to track what is meaningful.
  • Setup the reporting to email you the pdf each month, this way you don’t have to go looking for it
  • Add any additional users that you want to have access to the reporting

Ok…so you are all setup and configured and you have waited about 30 days and you see all these statistics….but what do they mean?  How do you know if you are doing well or not?

  • It’s too difficult to tell you what a good traffic number is, because each business and each industry is different.  However what I can tell you is that if you are doing the work on your website monthly, then your Unique Visitors should be trending UP.
  • Bounce rate should be between 40% and 60%.  The lower the number the better.
  • Note that bounce rate is determined by looking at what visitors entered on that particular page and failed to go to any other page before leaving the website.
  • Goal numbers should be trending up
  • Time on site should be trending up
  • Trending……..one final note on trending.  It’s not odd to see a drop from one month to another, but when we talk about trending we are talking about 6-12-18 months at a glance.  If you look back over that time, are you trending up.  If you are not, then you need to consider getting some help to fix that.

Happy Analyzing.

Browser Statistics

Browser Statistics – August 2010

The web browser statistics have been released through September 2010. The stats are published monthly at W3CSchools.com.

Below are the web browser stats for September 2010.

2010 IE9 IE8 IE7 IE6
September .2% 17.3% 8.0% 5.6%
August   16.2% 7.8% 6.7%
July   15.6% 7.1% 7.2%
June   15.7% 8.1% 7.2%
May   16.0% 9.1% 7.1%
April   16.2% 9.3% 7.9%
March   15.3% 10.7% 8.9%
February   14.7% 11.0% 9.6%
January   14.3% 11.7% 10.2%

 

2010 Firefox Chrome Safari Opera
September 45.1% 17.3% 3.7% 2.2%
August 45.8% 17% 3.5% 2.3%
July 46.4% 16.7% 3.4% 2.3%
June 46.6% 15.9% 3.6% 2.1%
May 46.9% 14.5% 3.5% 2.2%
April 46.4% 13.6% 3.7% 2.2%
March 46.2% 12.3% 3.7% 2.2%
February 46.5% 11.6% 3.8% 2.1%
January 46.3% 10.8% 3.7% 2.2%

In summary, it seems as though people have started to upgrade from the lower versions of Internet Explorer and are driving up the popularity of IE8. The IE9 public beta version was introduced on 9/15, so we will surely be seeing numbers for this browser begin to rise in the upcoming months. IE6 is starting to steadily decrease by almost 1% per month (thank you!). Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera seem to be holding steady at their usage rates.

  1. A CAPTCHA is an important part of a web form. Surely you have seen a CAPTCHA by now; they are becoming the standard on most online forms. CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It is a spam prevention tool which generates an image of distorted letters and/or numbers. The person filling out the form must type an exact match of what is in the image before the form will properly submit. This basically verifies the form is being submitted by a human and not a spam bot.
  2. Importance of Contact Form – Utilizing a contact form on your website is very
    Contact Form Example

    An Example of a Simple Contact Form

    important. A lot of people carelessly throw their email address onto their websites without thinking twice, by no fault of their own, as they are simply not properly educated on the subject. We highly recommend to all of our clients that they avoid this practice and instead use a contact form. By listing your email address on your website, spam bots can crawl your site, pick up any email addresses listed, throw them into a spam database and begin slamming you with illegitimate, offensive and nonsense emails. By integrating a Contact Form, no one will ever see your email address, thus eliminating the chance for spam bots to have access to your address. By adding a CAPTCHA to your form, you are almost eliminating the chance for spammers to get your email by way of your website. Not only will a contact form decrease spam, but it is also a great tool to analyze your business. By utilizing a dropdown menu (or something similar) to give the viewer the option to choose the subject of their comment or inquiry, you can determine what people are most frequently contacting you about. Giving them a comments box to freely express what they need is also helpful. In addition, by using something like Google Analytics, you can see how many people navigate to the contact form and actually submit it.

  3. Elements of a Form – You can get pretty creative with forms if you so choose, however, you need to be aware that the longer the form is, the less likely someone is going to fill it out and submit it. You will want to keep it as simplified as possibly while still gathering all of the information that is needed to process the specified request. Here is a list of what types of elements you can utilize in your web forms.
    • Text Box – a simple, one line box that allows the input of text
    • Text Area – similar to the text box, but with a text area you can enter multiple rows of text.
    • Drop Down – a list of items that the viewer can choose from. On a contact form, this is often used to determine which department they want to contact or what the inquiry is regarding.
    • Checkbox – these are used when you want to allow someone to choose more than one option
    • Radio Button – a radio button is used when you only want to allow one option to be chosen
    • File Select – this control allows the viewer to browse to a file on their local computer and upload it to your server.
    • Reset Button – a reset button will reset all of the fields/buttons to their initial values
    • Submit Button – Submits the form to the specified email address, providing that all necessary information is filled out
  4. PDF Forms – If you have a form that is rather long in length, it might be a good idea to
    Fillable PDF Form

    An Example of a Fillable PDF Form

    forgo the web form and create a fillable PDF form. This can only be done if you have the correct software such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, but any graphic designer or web development company should be able to help you out if you do not have the resources. When you create a fillable PDF document, you have all of the same options as you would a webform (text boxes, check boxes, radio buttons, etc.) With a PDF form, you can integrate buttons that allow the user to save it to their local computer, print it, or email it to a specified recipient. A good use of a PDF form would be for documents such as applications. You can also create a PDF that is just static (not fillable) for someone to download, fill out, and mail to you.

  5. Form Suggestions – A good rule of thumb is to always use some kind of form when asking for information from your website viewers. Here are some suggestions for implementing forms on your website:
  • Web Form Ideas
    • Contact Form – As mentioned earlier in this article, contact forms are extremely important for being able to sort out inquiries, analyze data, and prevent spam.
    • RFQ – Do you offer a product or service that is quoted on a job by job basis? Implementing a Request for Quote form is an excellent idea to generate leads.
    • Material/Sample Request – Do you offer free samples of your product or certain materials you use? Setup a form to take these requests.
  • PDF Form Ideas (Fillable or Static)
    • Employment/Volunteer/Membership Applications – Usually these applications are multiple pages long. A PDF form is ideal for this so the applicant can either print it and mail it to you or digitally fill it out and email it to you. If you require information such as social security numbers and/or credit card numbers that shouldn’t be shared via an unsecure web connection, make sure you do not give the option of submitting the form through email. Forms requesting such information would be best as a static form.
    • Patient Forms (static) – By offering patient forms online, this would significantly reduce the time waiting at the doctor’s office. NOTE: We do not suggest submitting forms such as medical surveys, financial information, etc. over an unsecured web server. If using a form for this type of information, we suggest making it a downloadable form that they can print and mail to you or hand deliver.

Habitat for Humanity

inConcert Web Solutions, Inc. is proud to announce our newest partnership with Habitat for Humanity of North Central Massachusetts.  Habitat for Humanity is a well-known, well-respected non-profit Christian ecumenical housing ministry that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness right here in North Central Massachusetts.

inConcert Web Solutions has been selected by Habitat for Humanity of North Central Massachusetts to partner with them in providing a Content Management System that will enable the Habitat Team to update their website more frequently and easily than ever before.

inConcert Web Solutions believes in giving back to the community and, as such, we have adopted Habitat for Humanity of North Central Massachusetts as our non-profit partner for 2010.  We are pleased to be associated with the fine folks at Habitat and are looking forward to building further on our relationship, especially with their new Executive Director, Maggie Monroe-Cassell.

People participate in joining Habitat in their mission in many different ways; and corporations can participate as well by donating financially, of their time and materials, or donating whatever their company’s skillset offers.  inConcert is proud to be able to donate our time and efforts to build a great Content Management System for them and invite other corporations, large and small, to join us in supporting this fine work.

In the future we look forward to working on other creative endeavors for Habitat like brochure and postcard design, annual appeal letters, and overall graphic design services for their many events, including their Annual Gala Event.

Please join us in welcoming Habitat for Humanity of North Central Massachusetts to the inConcert Web Solutions, Inc. family.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics Can Help You Track Conversions

Conversion is the key for growing your website and for ensuring that the people visiting your website actually call you for the products and services that you offer.

Conversion can be defined as multiple different actions. You may set up a conversion as a phone call or a form submission on your website or you can track how long someone has looked at a particular page. You can even set up a conversion tracking methodology to track whether or not someone has looked at a specific page on your site. All these are ways to determine if your website is working effectively for you.

Conversion is the key; it’s the Number 1 thing you need to think about when you are working, maintaining and growing your website!

From the standpoint of conversion you need to think about what you want to have happen. So, for instance, if you are a building contractor you may not check your email very often and therefore a conversion key for you would be a phone call…. you’d rather have someone call your phone than send you an email. If that’s the case you can set up conversion tracking on your site with separate phone numbers that forward to your main phone number. Then, at the end of the month, you can check those separate phone numbers for how many calls were made to you so you wouldn’t have to ask each person who calls you how they found you. Although that is always a good question to ask, it doesn’t always give you truthful results. Many times if you ask how the person found you they may say that they saw your tv ad when, in fact, you never ran a tv ad. So, setting up tools on your site to actually track the conversions is a very important thing to do.

Conversions really do matter and you should look at them at least on a monthly basis to determine how well your website is performing for you and then make adjustments according to the conversion data. If, for instance, you had a white paper you wanted to post; a good conversion would be a download of that white paper so you could track what pages people go to and set up the web page to allow you to capture an email address. You could put a piece of tracking code on the Thank You Page so it tracks the download and that is where you provide the white paper. Not only have you captured the email address that proves that people went to that white paper and downloaded the page but you could also now market directly to the people via their email addresses.

So, understanding a conversion is a huge factor and if you want to know more about how you can make your website conversion-friendly and what inConcert Web Solutions can do to help you grow the conversion factor on your site, feel free to contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.