Archive for October, 2010

Increase Holiday Sales for 2010

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Tis the season for holiday shopping. Christmas is only 55 days away, that’s a month and 3 weeks till the big day. Online retail sales are expected to rise in the next coming month. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday shopping will increase 64%. This is 45.8% higher than last year. In comparison to the brick-and-mortar retail shop, they are only expect to increase 3% more.

The study consisted of gathering 51 major online retailers last month and asked them to project their online sales for the holidays.

The study also showed that 40% of the companies surveyed planned to market the holiday sales before Halloween. Another 40% will begin the first week of November.

The research company, comScore Inc. predicts an overall increase in all holiday sales from 4% last year to 79% this year.

To top off this holiday rush, the National Retail Foundation also forecasted that 4 out of five web retailers plan to offer free shipping through the holiday season. This would only apply to web purchase. Time to break out the holiday marketing campaigns and brace yourself for a online rush.

Happy Shopping!

Web Trends to Watch in 2011

Friday, October 29th, 2010

It’s that time of year. Some may be putting on costumes and getting ready for the holidays, while others are getting ready for their 4th quarter. Christmas time is very important to many businesses. Owning a website is just as important to most businesses as the 4th quarter holiday sales. So let’s dive into some hot trends to look forward to as we approach this Christmas season and into 2011. This is our 2011 Web Predictions!

  1. You’re Famous

    With sites like YouTube and twitter, we are finding more and more overnight celebrities emerging. The most popular that recently comes to mind is Antoine Dodson, the famous bed intruder. These platforms allow all of us to become superstars.

  2. Streaming TV/Movies

    Netflix had it right, with introduction of streaming movies. They have also incorporated streaming to the TV through popular gaming consoles as well. But this is not the only site to catch on; we are seeing sites like Hulu, Apple TV and Netflix’s Roku box as the forerunners.

  3. Privacy?

    With social sites becoming more popular, privacy seems to have gone out the window. People are writing every little detail of their lives on these sites. When they are going on vacation, who they like, what stars they follow, it is all out there for the world to share.

  4. Mobile Payments

    Mobile is hot right now and it’s only getting bigger. The mobile wars have just begun, leaving the consumer the real winner. Sites are becoming more mobile ready and e-commerce stores are no different. So mobile payment processing is the next likely star. Watch out for payment gateways to go mobile. PayPal is already getting ready for this trend.

  5. GPS- are you there?

    The latest smart phones come standard with GPS technology. More and more devices are made using your current location as its guide. Want to know what restaurants are around you right this second? There is an app for that.

  6. Net Books/Net Devices

    iPad anyone? I have personally seen an increase in iPad development over the past few months. Businesses are not only taking their websites to mobile, but creating special applications that work well with their business. Watch out for more iPad applications.

  7. Augmented Reality

    This is probably the biggest trend we will see, and not the most talked about. Augmented reality is an amazing technology that utilizes GPS and mapping data to overlay information, on let’s say your mobile device, while you’re walking around. It is something straight from Sci-Fi movies of the past. If you are walking down the street, you can scan your favorite restaurant and have hours, and menus pop up on your display. It is something to watch and see if it helps the end-user or just gets in the way.

Stay tune for more updates as we head to the New Year! Happy Surfing.

We Need More AJAX!

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

An older technology, but still very much alive today is the use of JavaScript and AJAX. In the past the use of these technologies were very basic and primitive. As the demand for them have grown and new technologies such as mobile, iPads, net books,.. the demand will not fade. Developers of JavaScript and AJAX have really pushed the envelope as well. In the beginning the design was very basic. Animations were kept to a minimum. As developers and designers are becoming more experienced with the technologies, they are pushing it farther and create much more creative pieces of work. Not only has JavaScript and AJAX become a fantastic visual tool, but helps with the overall user experience.

Have you gone through a site gallery? Did the page refresh between every single picture?

The user of JavaScript and AJAX have made the quick single page load of the gallery a much more enjoyable experience. It doesn’t stop there though. Have you ever gone to a web site and noticed a popup, with the background darkened out? Another useful tool to draw attention to a single piece of data was the creation and use of the Lightbox/ Modal Box. Form validation, menu animation, accordions, the list goes on infinitely. It has become the job of your imagination with what you will do with this technology.

There are some downsides. If there is too much JavaScript, you may find your web site will slow down incredibly, even error out or completely stall out. With machines becoming faster, this isn’t as bad as it used to be, but shouldn’t excuse sloppy code. Even the Google Chrome Browser prides itself on having a clean JavaScript engine, which is boasts as speeding up processing time.

WordPress 3.0 URL Shortener

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

You might have noticed, while on Twitter or Facebook, shortened URLs posted by your friends. Usually seen as a bit.ly link or such. Now wouldn’t it be nice to have a shortened link for your wordpress blog.

Previous versions of WordPress required a plug-in or custom code to make your own shortened link that is hosted on your site. Or you would have to copy your link, go to bit.ly, and manually create a shortened link.

The idea of using your own domain in the shortened URL helps alot with branding your site. If you haven’t noticed, one Great feature of the new WordPress 3.0 platform is the URL shortener (shortlink) feature on your posts.

No extra plug-in or manual process required!

You can even keep your domain in tact. This new feature creates a new link on the fly as you create your new posts in the admin.

The new feature can be seen when you create or edit an existing post. See image.


You can see what I have done with this link here: http://www.kiwi9.com/?p=334.

You can create similar outcomes on your blog by upgrading to the latest version of WordPress. If your domain is long, you might still find the need to use 3rd-party services like bit.ly, but at least now you have the option to create shortened links under your domain.

Happy Blogging!

On Your Mark, Get Set, SEO!

Friday, October 8th, 2010

You may have heard about SEO and how SEO is important. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nut shell, SEO will help to get your website noticed in Google. As Google’s algorithm changes, SEO changes with it.

Did you know that every little detail about your website helps to get you indexed in Google Search?
Google looks at the quality of the content on your website to what you name your web pages to how you lay out the HTML. It is important that if you do decide to do your own SEO that you understand some basic principles of HTML. A good place to start your own SEO efforts is at Google’s Blog directly. Google supplies an SEO Starter Guide for the do it yourselfers. The starter guides was created to help you understand the content of your website and how to optimize your site for Google Search Engines. It is a “must have” for SEO gurus.

When you hire a company to handle your SEO, you should make sure they understand the latest trends in Google as well SEO standards. Did you ever notice the emails late at night, from some off-shore company, claiming to get you to number 1 in Google? Or promising you high rankings in Google? Be ware of such companies. If a company can provide great SEO services, you should be able to easily find them and not the other way around. Mass submitting emails to random websites, is an attempt to sucker one out of a million into their “SEO web”.

Kiwi9 provides SEO Services, please feel free to contact us for a free quote.


What is WebP?

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

So if you haven’t heard, Google has announce a new image format for the web. This new format is called WebP. It is Google’s attempt to create a faster loading image that is similar to the current JPEG image format.

WebP has many similarities to the current JPEG format. Google’s development team found a way to compress the image quality to such a compact size that it actually speeds up load time over the web. This is a 39% reduction from its JPEG counterpart.

Check out and compare the difference between JPEG and the new WebP formats at google’s gallery.

WebP is based on open source technologies. This gives the new Google format a chance in the browser image world. New browser patches are in the process of being released to get Google Chrome up to speed. The browser will support the new image format. Soon after we can look to Mozilla, Opera, Apple, and Microsoft to catch on. This may take a while to catch on. The future of the web is turning to a faster more compressed version of graphics, video, and code. We will just have to wait and see what impact this new webP format will have.

To read more on Google’s WebP image format, you can check out their post on Chromium blog. Check out more from us at Web Design Chicago.