Worcester County Businesses

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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.

Labor Day

inConcert will be closed Labor Day

inConcert Web Solutions will be closed for the Labor Day holiday.  All website maintenance requests and website changes will be completed on Tuesday September 7th, in the order that they were received.

Should you have any questions regarding your requested changes, please send an email to your account rep and they will likely respond within a few hours.  Please be patient as our staff does have the holiday off as well.

Browser Statistics

Browser Statistics – August 2010

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

Below are the web browser stats for August 2010.

2010 IE8 IE7 IE6 Firefox Chrome Safari Opera
August 16.2% 7.8% 6.7% 45.8% 17% 3.5% 2.3%
July 15.6% 7.1% 7.2% 46.4% 16.7% 3.4% 2.3%
June 15.7% 8.1% 7.2% 46.6% 15.9% 3.6% 2.1%
May 16.0% 9.1% 7.1% 46.9% 14.5% 3.5% 2.2%
April 16.2% 9.3% 7.9% 46.4% 13.6% 3.7% 2.2%
March 15.3% 10.7% 8.9% 46.2% 12.3% 3.7% 2.2%
February 14.7% 11.0% 9.6% 46.5% 11.6% 3.8% 2.1%
January 14.3% 11.7% 10.2% 46.3% 10.8% 3.7% 2.2%

In summary, it seems as though people are finally realizing that IE6 is outdated! IE6 usage is steadily decreasing while IE8 and IE7 have been in the same percentage range for the past two months. Firefox seems to have taken a slight dip in popularity this month with a decrease of .6% while Chrome’s popularity is steadily on the rise. Safari and Opera users still can’t get out of the 2 and 3% range.

W3CLogo

inConcert ensures W3C Validation on all sites we design!

In early 2009, the web community was asked if they thought there still was a strong motivation for validation. Here are some reasons they mentioned:

Validation as a debugging tool

While most Web browsers do an increasingly good job of parsing even the worst HTML “tag soup”, some errors are not always caught gracefully. Very often, different software on different platforms will not handle errors in a similar fashion, making it extremely difficult to apply style or layout consistently.

Using standard, interoperable markup and stylesheets on the other hand, offers a much greater chance of having one’s page handled consistently across platforms and user-agents. Indeed, most developers creating rich Web applications know that reliable scripting needs the document to be parsed by User-Agents without any unexpected error, and will make sure that their markup and CSS is validated before creating a rich interactive layer.

When surveyed, a large majority of Web professionals will state that validation errors are the first thing they will check whenever they run into a Web styling or scripting bug.

Validation as a future-proof quality check

Checking that a page “displays fine” in several contemporary browsers may be a reasonable insurance that the page will “work” today, but it does not guarantee that it will work tomorrow.

In the past, many authors who relied on the quirks of Netscape 1.1 suddenly found their pages appeared totally blank in Netscape 2.0. Whilst Internet Explorer initially set out to be bug-compatible with Netscape, it too has moved towards standards compliance in later releases.

Validation is one of the simplest ways to check whether a page is built in accordance with Web standards, and provides one of the most reliable guarantees that future Web platforms will handle it as designed.

Validation eases maintenance

It is reasonable to consider that standards such as HTML and CSS are a form of “coding style” which is globally agreed upon. Creating Web pages or applications according to a widely accepted coding style makes them easier to maintain, even if the maintenance and evolution is performed by someone else.

Validation helps teach good practices

Many professionals have been authoring the Web with HTML and CSS for years and know these technologies by heart. Beginners and students, on the other hands, will find automated checking tools invaluable in spotting mistakes. Some teachers also stress that automated validation tests are a good introduction to broader, more complex quality concepts such as accessibility.

Validation is a sign of professionalism

As of today, there is little or no certification for Web professionals, and only a few universities teach Web technologies, leaving most Web-smiths to learn by themselves, with varied success. Seasoned, able professionals will take pride in creating Web content using semantic and well-formed markup, separation of style and content, etc. Validation can then be used as a quick check to determine whether the code is the clean work of a seasoned HTML author, or quickly hacked-together tag soup.

Note: Currently inConcert Web Solutions, Inc. insures W3C validation on all of the websites they release. Furthermore, before release, these new websites are reviewed and tested in Internet Explorer 7 and 8, Firefox, and Google Chrome.

Thank you to http://validator.w3.org for their contribution to this article.

Reliable Linking is proud to announce our newest addition to the network…Middlesex County Businesses. This network will assist business owners in Middlesex County with the resources to attract more business to their location. If you are interested in learning more out this directory please contact us.

Reliable Linking welcomes Bob Anderson of Padgett Business Services to their network of directory sites. As the owner of Padgett Business Services in Gardner, Massachusetts, Bob Anderson is a member of a nation-wide network of offices providing tax and accounting support to small businesses. Padgett Business Services are small business specialists in accounting, taxes, and payroll. They provide a unique combination of business information and services to help small owner-operated businesses succeed.

Reliable Linking is pleased to announce that the Dennis M. White Plumbing and Heating has joined the Reliable Linking network of business directories.

The Dennis M. White Plumbing and Heating is located  in Ayer, and is a licensed and insured plumber that serves the Route 2 corridor from Arlington to Fitchburg daily. Gas, water and drain installations should always be performed by a professional plumber. Even a small mistake can cause major damage. Call us to inspect your home for early signs of damage, avoid costly repairs and enhance the safety of your home. Our friendly and professional team can show you how to upgrade your plumbing fixtures to cut costs and protect the environment at the same time. Call on us at any time. Explore our website to learn more about our services and discover how we can help you.

You can view some of their listings here:

Dennis M White Plumbing and Heating on Worcester County Businesses

Dennis M White Plumbing and Heating on Northeast Business Directory