Just to prove that no aspect of online technology can sit still for any longer than a 7-year-old, last week Google launched an updated version of what it previously called its “Rich Snippet Test Tool”. As part of the deal, it’s gotten a new name — the Structured Data Testing Tool . The page is a great deal more sparse than the previous version because all of the help content has been moved to a separate page.

The testing tool continues to support markup for rich snippet search results, but now pulls out authorship markup elements as well. Note that authorship markup is a separate element from a web article’s provenance, or creative history. Establishing and maintaining a web pages’ provenance is still a hot topic amongst semantics experts, hopefully to be resolved at some point in the future. […]

Back when the Internet was a lot younger — say around 1998 or so — great domain names were still pretty easy for a website owner to come up with. Unless your business had a really common name, you could probably buy a domain that matched, or at least matched closely enough that people would remember it. Domains were a little bit harder to register and cost more (inflation-adjusted, anyway), but you could always find something decently memorable that didn’t have too many consonants in the middle of it.

That’s not so much the case anymore. Looks like all of the easy stuff is taken, which is why so many websites have domain names that read like something from the bookmark list of famous comicbook villain Mister Mxyzptlk. (Don’t get any smart ideas. “Mxyzptlk.com” is taken.) […]

If you’re a super-hero like Spiderman or The Tick, a secret identity can come in handy. When you’re running an E-Commerce website, however, shrouding your company details in mystery can ruin your business.

One of the main disadvantages of E-Commerce is that consumers can’t see, touch or feel the actual products offered on your website. People like to know what they’re buying. Fortunately, it’s a disadvantage that can be overcome to a degree by including plenty of good product-specific content like photos, videos and reviews. Another disadvantage is that consumers can’t see you — or your business — and gain a sense of trust from that contact. As much as people like to know what they’re buying, they also want to have confidence in who they’re buying from. […]

In most of the website usability studies that I’ve read, poor legibility is by far the most frequent complaint encountered. It’s generally a sin of comission on the part of web designers, because web-safe typography by default is designed to be both legible and flexible.

A website gets into trouble when its design diverges from online typographic standards. Often, the issue begins with a site owner — or the site owner’s print marketing designer — who wants the fonts and styles on a website to mirror those the business uses elsewhere. While it may sound like a good theory from a branding perspective, it’s often a train wreck for usability. […]

Websites offer a seemingly endless amount of space for your content, especially compared to traditional media like print or broadcast. For a relatively small hosting fee, you can literally publish entire libraries of text. An average 500 MB hosting account has enough room for more than 150 copies of Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” 400 copies of Melville’s “Moby Dick” or 600 copies of James Fennimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans.”

When you’re passionate about your business, the temptation is to use as much of that space as possible to share your enthusiasm and expertise with potential customers. But it’s all a trap, a painful deception. The truth of the matter is that your customers have a lot less time than you have space. […]

So you’ve decided you need a new website, or your existing website needs a facelift?  Not so fast!  Before you choose a website developer and spend your money on a new website, there are several things you need to consider carefully in order to get the most out of your investment.  And there are some details that if they aren’t taken care of BEFORE you start building that website, could doom you to failure.

Make sure you know the following, and can communicate the answers to your developer, to get the best possible results. […]

Many of our E-commerce customers are dreamers. Some of them are BIG dreamers. It sort of goes with the territory. There are plenty of examples of successful E-commerce websites out there on the Internet, but for every success there are at least two or three (or more) complete fizzles. It takes a lot of small business grit — and a strong vision of success — to enter the world of online retail sales. […]

Search engines love good text content, so why do so many website owners and their web designers devote so little effort to creating the words that will represent them on the Internet? Creating text content that works for your website takes some time, and even more thought. A few elemental mistakes can negatively impact the quality of your text, both in the search engines and in the eyes of your customers. […]

I hope you’re not superstitious, because if you are, you may not like this post.  I’m not superstitious, although I am writing this blog post on the 13th of January – and it is a Friday.

Friday the 13th is a scary day to many people, but not to me.  However, what IS scary to me is the concept of “design by committee.”  I get chills down my spine whenever a client or potential client refers to needing to have their committee review all design layouts.  I’m going into my 13th year with NetSource, and in all of these years of experience in the development of hundreds of website projects, I have never seen a project benefit from “design by committee.” […]

You’ve decided that this year, finally, your business deserves a new website. Maybe you want to get rid of the current website, which was built on that free hosting service by your nephew. Or maybe your business has never had a website before at all. Either way, creating a website can be a daunting project. You want to read something scary? Hit the search engines and look for “website project management.” You can lose your mind trying to sort through all of that stuff. […]

Let’s face it. There are a lot of web design companies out there to choose from – big companies, little one-man shops, foreign contractors, hosted solution providers, local vendors, and more. Choosing the right web design firm for your website development or redesign can sometimes be daunting with all the choices out there. Here are some guidelines to help you find the right fit for your company’s needs, personality, and budget. […]