Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why Your Website Doesn’t Generate More Leads

Sometimes we optimistically assume that building a website–any website–will bring a surge of eager customers tripping over themselves in their rush to buy our products or services. Unfortunately, “If you build it, they will come” simply doesn’t apply to web development.

There are several reasons why web sites fail to generate sales. Over the next few days, I’ll outline five of the worst culprits. Here’s #1 …

1) Failure to optimize images for the web. Recent studies have demonstrated that if your pages take longer than one second to load, visitors will abandon your site in droves.

And it makes sense, doesn’t it? What’s your gut reaction when a site asks you to “PLEASE WAIT while we conjure up fabulous content for your eager eyes…” ?

If your pages take longer than one second to load … well, maybe it’s time to check your image sizes. Often the solution is simple: scale and/or crop your graphic files down to size. For example, the original file size of the photo above is almost 3 megabytes. After scaling the photo down to the intended viewing size, the file shrunk to 29K — one percent of its original size.

Resizing photos and images to fit their target space doesn’t require much time or skill. But the actual load time might spell the difference between a frustrated visitor, and a sale.

Recent updates to vbsroster.com

Several churches I’ve talked with recently say they’d like to use vbsroster.com, but it doesn’t fit their situation because they don’t host a Vacation Bible School–(at least not using the VBS nomenclature). Instead, their churches offer soccer camps.

To address this need, we’re adding the ability to switch the theme from VBS to Soccer Camp. The same student, parent and emergency contact forms will be presented to parents, but the photos will have a soccer theme.

In addition, we’ve also added additional customization capability, including:

  • Color selectors to change the header/footer color, as well as the title font color
  • Home page editing capability
  • Ability to link back to their church website (or another site).

Next on the docket: install an SSL certificate and move from beta into production.

Looks like our May 1 target is still on track!

Where To Go After FoxPro

The number of Visual FoxPro programmers dwindles ever smaller as Microsoft’s end-of-life deadline for VFP (January 13, 2015) looms closer on the horizon. Most programming companies have long since abandonded FoxPro, opting to migrate to new development platforms. (Side note: our company continues to support all versions of VFP).

Some time in the future, Visual Foxpro applications will either need to get migrated to something more current, or put out to pasture. So where does that leave savvy business owners who have invested a ton of thought, resources and money into a legacy FoxPro application?

For starters, understand that your FoxPro application(s) will likely continue to run just fine for many more years–maybe even a decade or longer. The sky will not fall just because of an arbitrary support cutoff date. FoxPro is a 32-bit application just like thousands of other 32-bit apps, which run perfectly well in Windows 7 and Windows 8. It’ll probably be quite some time before Microsoft releases a new operating system that doesn’t support 32-bit apps.

But what if your company has decided it’s time to migrate to a new development platform? Unfortunately, there’s no magic button that’ll automatically migrate your VFP application to a current development platform. But today you have more options available than ever before. It all depends on how data flows in and out of your application, whether your company has an IT policy in place, and what that policy mandates regarding preferred vendors and required databases.

For example, if your company has committed to use only Microsoft software and SQL Server, you’ll want to find a knowledgeable software developer who’s skilled at Visual Studio .NET development. On the other hand, if you run with the Open Source crowd, start by seeking out developers who know their way around LAMP (Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP).

Another key question to ask yourself: how and where should your data be accessible? If users need to access your application and data from outside your office, developing a web or mobile application will probably narrow your needs down to an ASP.NET Developer (for Windows) or a PHP programmer (for Linux-based solutions). On the other hand, if all data entry is done from user desktops, you’ll want to find a company with experience in developing desktop applications.

If you’ve reached this point, call us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll help identify your needs and how best to move forward.