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NetConnect Blog - Your Resource For IT Tips, Tricks and News

Today is a Good Day to Code!

Posted by Paul Staszko on Mar 25, 2016 10:00:00 AM

What is the best day to become a programmer? It was, is, will be yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Respectively. I tend to be a cold hard light of the day realist about most things, but one of the few areas about which I am perpetually optimistic is software programming. As software programming is a broad topic, I’ll focus on the areas of options, ease of use, and reach. Let’s imagine how this applies to a fictitious novice jumping into software development.GDAGX2JKI4.jpg

Like any craft where you repair something that is damaged or create something out of nothing, having the right tool for the job is essential to success. As software interacts more and more aspects of our lives, programmers need ever expanding options for languages, tools, and best practices. Thankfully, we’ve got them. The sheer number of programming languages alone can seem a bit overwhelming on the whole, but if there is a job to do, someone has probably already done the hardest parts of it for you.

With even the vaguest of Google searches, our new developer will be off and running. The currents of IT support websites are well established and will insure a novice will end up with some useful tools and heaps of guidance. Sites like StackOverfow, its parent StackExchange, and CodeProject have made a permanent stamp on free and open peer support. Tutorials, essays, answers to extremely specific problems, they are all there for the taking.

The languages and the tools available also continue to mature and become better understood and supported by their respective communities. This is an easy point to overlook, but technologies live and die on the communities that form around them. For those who like something to hold, it’s very easy to find amazing books on software programming. I could hardly overstate how valuable the books on my bookshelf have been.

At the risk of being the prototypical cranky old man, kids these days have no idea how hard it used to be. I don’t think they are missing too much though. You can learn a lot by struggling on your own, but success and a helping hand are pretty nice too.

photo-1417733403748-83bbc7c05140.jpegMy final argument that today is the best day to become a programmer boils down to one word. Reach. Broadly speaking, I mean how far a piece of software can go, the amount of work a bit of software can accomplish, and how fast it can do it while continuing to grow are truly mind boggling. Small computers are all around us in the form of, well, pretty much anything these days. A crafty programmer is able to extend their reach into those devices to make them work more to the programmers liking. Come to think of it, I don’t see why my washing machine couldn’t text me when it’s done. It doesn’t have an alarm. Maybe this weekend…

To go along with the swarm of small computers surrounding us, internet services are available to be harnessed. Telecommunications, video, social media, ecommerce. All of these areas become toys for a developer to mix and match. More than ever before, a programmer’s digital world and physical world can be bent to their will. My friend wants to order cat food via a text message. I’m 90% of the way there.

The Interactive Team at Network Center, Inc. has the knowhow to get the job done. Even more importantly, we are excited to find new and better ways to exceed our customer’s expectations on time and on budget.

Today is a good day to code!

 

Topics: Developers, website development, software development

Announcing Our Newly Redesigned Network Center, Inc. Website

Posted by Angie Ryan on Jun 12, 2015 3:30:00 PM

We are excited to announce our newly redesigned website - www.netcenter.net. Our website's fresh new look, user-friendly navigation and search functionality are some of the features you will enjoy. The new site has several easy to use drop down menus with updated information about our technology solutions and company, along with a comprehensive resources hub that will keep you coming back for more. We hope that you will enjoy browsing our new site and find new technology resources and information each time you visit.

As you explore the new site, one of the first things you’ll notice is the rotating banner on the home page highlighting Network Center, Inc. news and solutions. The home page also provides easy access to recent blog posts, videos, and a technology resources.

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Review the solutions pages to learn more about our recently expanded list of technology services offered. You will notice the menu titles under the solutions tab are orange and green. The orange titles depict our Strategic & Consulting Services and Interactive Services. The green titles display our traditional IT Solutions and Support Services. 

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Please take some time to look around and acquaint yourself with the new layout and features that include:

RESOURCE HUB & BLOG

The redesigned site makes it easy to connect and share content from Network Center, Inc. with others on our new Resource Hub. Click through our Resource Hub to find our latest social, video and blog content. Be sure to subscribe to our NetConnect Blog to receive even more information about our latest products, tips and tricks. 

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CLIENT PORTFOLIO

Our clients’ goals are our goals. At Network Center, Inc. we work with our clients to create a customized solution that will meet their ever evolving needs. View our impressive collection of work on “Our Client Portfolio” page to see how we have successfully delivered for our clients through the creation of websites, digital signage and mobile apps. 

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CLIENT SUCCESS STORIES

Every day, Network Center, Inc. helps clients win in today’s complex world of technology. Visit our “Client Success Stories” page and click on any video to learn more about the solutions that delivered successful results.

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We are eager to hear what you think of the new site design—leave us a comment below! Thank you for your continued support.

Contact us to find out how we can partner with you to achieve your IT goals and streamline your business.

 NCI Contact Us Button

Topics: Web Design, website development, responsive website, Website Redesign

Benefits of Implementing a CMS Into Your Website

Posted by Mia Ness on May 29, 2015 4:15:00 PM

CMS_photoToday websites are much more dynamic than they where in the past. Gone are the days of setting up a static website and just leaving it be. In today’s fast-paced society, people expect a certain level of interactivity on a website, whether that be a blog, social media feeds, or continually updated content to keep their attention and keep them coming back to visit your site. The solution for this essential need for fresh content is a CMS, or Content Management System.

So what exactly is a CMS?

A Content Management System is an easy-to-use software that stores all the content from your website.  With this it allows multiple web administrators to login in and update a website’s content as you please without any coding experience or the need to contact your developer.

Why this is great for you?

1. It’s convenient.
You have the ability to log in anytime and update your site on your own terms. Let’s say it’s a Sunday and you need to post a company-wide reminder on your homepage. Ideally you want everyone to see it right away Monday morning. With a CMS you’re not restricted by the times your developer is available to update your site. You can change content, upload images, videos, and more! It completely cuts out the middleman, making your site more dynamic and ultimately more valuable to your visitors. 

2. No Coding Required!
A CMS is a WYSIWYG meaning “What you see is what you get.” If know how to create a Word Document, you’ll have no problem at all updating your site.

3. Cost Effective
Although we’re still here to help if needed, simple updates won’t require you to contact your developer. Other than the one time fee to build your site with an integrated CMS, there are no monthly fees for accessing your content.

4. Stay up to Date
Any quality CMS such as Drupal or Wordpress will provide you with functionality updates on a regular basis, giving you peace of mind that your site and content are secure.

5. Build a Marketing Strategy

A CMS also gives you the ability to implement a marketing strategy harnessing email marketing, blogging tools, social media and custom forms, among many other powerful tools right at your fingertips.

The Interactive Services team at Network Center, Inc. can help build a site utilizing a power content management system. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today, and let us help you make the most out of your company’s web experience!

Contact Us Today!

Topics: Interactive Services, website development, Content Management System, CMS

11 Components of a Successful Website

Posted by Mia Ness on Feb 20, 2015 4:30:00 PM

great_website2Everyone has been to a great website that is easy to spend a lot of time on. But what really makes a site “great"? What makes you want to stay on a website and browse, when you could just as easily navigate away with the click of a button? Let’s explore 11 aspects of a “great” website, and how you can apply these tips to your own site.

1. Who is your audience?
Ultimately what do you want your viewer to do? Do you want them to buy something, read an article, or give you a call? This should always be the first question you ask yourself when you decide to build a site. You want your site to subconsciously direct the user to a goal, and you don’t want the viewer to scroll through miles of text if you’re goal is to get them to pick up the phone.

2. How quickly does your site load?
Unfortunately, people will only take note of this when speed is absent. As Internet connections get faster and faster, there is more and more content, images, and data for users to view and download. Everyone has been to one of those sites where you seem to sit there FOREVER to see your content or download your file. This by itself can be a major turn-off for people visiting your site. With a site that responds quickly, you’ll ensure that your viewers will stay longer and potentially return again in the future.

3. Navigation is essential.
If your user can’t easily get to where they want to be and get the information they want, they probably won’t stay terribly long on your site. Page navigation should be clear in the way it’s laid out and use a font that’s easily legible. If you have a very long page, it’s helpful if the navigation is either anchored in place or you have a “Back to Top” button of some sort to avoid unnecessary scrolling. 

4. All of your links should work.
Broken links are a huge turn-off for users and search engines alike. It can be perceived that your site is not well maintained and question the integrity of your business. Who wants to hang around on a site that doesn’t work? Having multiple broken links can severely hurt your search engine rankings as well, creating a domino effect that could potentially impact your overall business. 

5. Optimize Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Optimizing a site for SEO involves editing a site’s HTML content, headings, and metadata to increase a site’s relevance to specific keywords. Increasing the amount of inbound links or backlinks is another tactic to promote a site and increase search engine optimization.

contactform26. A contact form of some sort should be easily accessible to the user.
Your site may be absolutely stunning, but if a method of contacting you is unclear, then that pretty site really won’t help you much. Again, ask yourself what is your ultimate goal? If the purpose of the site is to get the customer in front of you face to face, you need to spend some time thinking about the visibility and accessibility of your contact form. 

7. Use appropriate colors for your business.

  • Red – Is a common color in the food industry. It’s attention grabbing, aggressive, and evokes a call to action. It’s also been scientifically proven to increase appetite. However, it’s also a color that can easily be overused. Too much red creates a kind of mental shutdown and nothing will stand out. Try pairing red with cooler colors to tone it down a bit and really make it pop.

  • Blue – A very calm, reliable color. Evokes of sense of trustworthiness and reliability. Companies use blue to let you know you can stand by them, and they will be there for you. 

  • Brown – Brown is a common color for stability. This company is well rooted and very reliable. It’s also very earthy and is a good color for representing organic-type products.

  • Green – Green, like blue is a cooler color that evokes feelings of trust. It’s a very common color in the tech industry due it being reminiscent of green type on a black screen. It’s also very common in industries that want to represent a feeling of soothing calm.

  • Yellow – A very cheerful and energetic color. Like red, it’s often used to draw attention and can easily be overused if you’re not careful.
  • Black – Black pairs well with any color. It’s classic and elegant. A very common color in the financial industry, black evokes a sense of power and boldness. 
  • White – White, like black is very versatile and can be paired with any color. It’s simple, clean, and elegant. More whitespace is always a good thing. 

Of course you can use many combinations of multiple colors to fit your needs and evoke desired feelings. Yellow and black may be an excellent choice for a successf­­­ul construction business, but if you take that same yellow and pair it with orange and blue it takes on a lighter, more playful quality. Choose color combinations that make sense for your business. If your logo is red and orange, blasting your site with too much of these colors is overwhelming. Find colors that will compliment your brand so your logo pops and is easily visible.

8. Spell everything correctly.
People are very critical of spelling and grammatical errors. Misspellings can come across as a business that lacks a sense of detail. Have multiple people proofread your content to ensure that everything is correct and makes sense to the user. 

9. Don't over-explain the content.
Writing for web is a little different than writing for print. There is such an over abundance of information online, so people usually skim through the content instead of taking time to read big blocks of text. So if you’re taking the time to read this, great! Many readers are probably just skimming the headlines, and they will do this on your site too. If your goal is get the viewer to actually contact you, don’t overload them with so much content that they don’t feel they have to.

10. Include a purposeful footer.
Many people will look for contact information or an extension of the navigation in the footer area of the website. This is also a great spot to place social icons, or even a sign up for a newsletter or blog. Make sure the footer is purposeful and contains relevant information for you site. If you have a great deal of scrolling on your website, a “Back to Top” link above the footer is very user-friendly option to include as well.

mobile_friendly11. Make your website mobile friendly.
In today’s busy society, there’s a good chance people are going to be looking at your site on a phone or tablet. The NCI Interactive Services team always designs sites to be responsive and can be viewed consistently across any number of devices. 

These are just a few helpful pointers to help you improve or create your new website. The Interactive Services team at Network Center can help guide you through this process. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today to let us help you make the most out of your company’s web experience! 

Contact Us Today!

Topics: Web Design, Interactive Services, website development

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