Website development and computer programming
With a great website designed, built and published you can get yourself noticed on the Internet. If you want to get people coming back to your site again and again, if you want to trade directly from your site and if you want complete control of your website then we will need to programme systems to achieve your aims.
There is a great range of options available to you. I list some below, organised by the sort of uses they may be put to and the value they might bring to your site. Some of these options are relatively simple to add to a website others will require extra resources. So in addition to the domain name and web hosting you may also need a database, or secure server which will add to your costs. We will always advise you what options are best for you.
Programming your website
Better user interfaces
There was a time when web pages were nothing more than text and images with links. If all you want to do is supply basic information to your users this is perfectly adequate.
For complex tasks however there are some limitations to the traditional webpage
- Every time you click a link or submit a form the page goes white and you have to wait for a new page to download to see your changes.
- You tend to have to do one thing at a time; performing tasks can be laborious.
- You are limited to clicking buttons. In a desktop programme like Word or Excel you would be able to drag-and-drop to get things done faster.
- Sometimes a bit of bling is called for, such as sales or educational applications, a few exciting effects can really grab the users attention.
Extra functions and services
On a basic website you often find a contact-us page, perhaps with a contact-us-form allowing the user to submit a question. This is a basic but rather unsatisfying amount of interaction. If required we can add e-commerce functions, blogs and news, even enable customers to rate products and post feedback in forums.
With the addition of a database we can add products to your website. The customer can then add items to their wish list or shopping-basket. Finally the user can place their order and make payment. A full e-commerce site needs a database and a secure server and the cost of implementing such a solution can be moderately high. However once you have a database behind your website it makes managing your content easier and enables other features such as blogs, wish-lists and user forums.
One way to drive traffic to your site would be to allow your visitors to interact with each other - posting their comments, feedback or experiences. This can help create a community around your site keep people coming back. This sort of functionality is going to require a database and the cost of implementing it can be moderate.
Programming behind your website
One way to help drive visitors to your site is to keep it up to date. We are happy to support you by maintaining your site but you may find it more efficient if you can update content yourself. In addition to the website your visitors see we can create you an administration website through which you can manage your content. As examples, you could maintain your products or write copy, news or a blog. Content management like this requires a database and the cost of implementing these systems can be moderate.
Business logic, rules and reporting
Once you have a database you may find that there are certain jobs you keep performing. It is quite likely that these operations could be built into the web server its self. By creating rules we can tell the computer to find customers or products that match those rules. The computer can then tell you about them (reporting) or automatically do something.
For example you may want to see a list of all unpaid invoices (a report) or you may want the computer to e-mail customers with unpaid invoices. These rules can be run via your administration website or automatically.
Services running along side your website
RSS news feed
If you have news or a blog then you could also run a news feed. People can subscribe to your news feed and will be informed whenever you add articles. The subscribers will be directed to your site to read the new articles. If you already have a content management system then the cost of adding an RSS feed are low.
It is possible to supply the information and services of your website in a machine readable way. This is pretty technical stuff but we can produce "web services" using SOAP and WSDL. If you suspect you need such a system contact me for advice or an estimate.
Systems running independent of your website
While your website is supplying data to users and to your administration pages you can get the web server to run tasks automatically at the same time. Such systems might read and write from the same database as your website or might be completely independent. We can programme systems to do anything you need. Costs could be moderate to considerable and would start with renting or purchasing a dedicated server. If you think you require such a system contact me for advice or an estimate.