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7 06, 2018

Bringing Your Web Design to Life

By | 2018-06-07T14:08:43+00:00 June 7th, 2018|Categories: Higher Education, Web Development|Tags: , , , |

HTML: The Foundation of Your Website

It’s common knowledge that, in today’s hyper-digital marketplace, your chances for success are limited without a strong website presence. As an experienced marketer, you know reflexively that a well-designed and expertly developed website is an irreplaceable marketing tool that differentiates your brand from your competitors.

What makes a great website, however, is a topic that can be debated without end. Ask a content strategist, a graphic designer, and a site developer that question and you’re likely to receive different answers from each — maybe even wildly different.

Regardless of their favorite website features or components, digital marketing experts know that, without a strong foundation, no site will ever perform up to expectations. So, what serves as the foundation of a website? What brings to life your creative vision, technical capabilities and conversion opportunities?

That answer is easy — it’s the underlying HTML code. Laying that foundation properly, to withstand the shifting sands of time, is the tricky part.

Mapping Your Creative Into HTML

At Beacon, we’ve developed a time-tested process for website development – our Brains, Beauty and Brawn approach. Foundation laying is brawny work. But it’s made easier by the steps completed in the Brains and Beauty stages.

In these first two phases, we suss out our clients’ cosmetic, functional and design requirements and create detailed webpage outlines. This work is informed by our research into target audiences and interviews with various stakeholders. The insights gained in this process are translated into page mockups with notes explaining how each included webpage feature should operate.

Our mockups include mobile and desktop variants. In order to make your site as user friendly as possible, it’s important to think about how the site will function across various devices that your target audiences use.  To ensure a smooth build-out process, these decisions have to be considered in the design stage, before development begins.

Once the mockups receive client approval, our developers start the heavy lifting — writing the HTML code and building out the site per the approved specifications.

Developing Flexible Templates

Our goal is to deliver a website that’s not only easy for users to navigate, but also easy for our clients to manage. Brains and Beauty take care of your site visitors. The Brawn phase is geared to make your website administrators happy by giving them maximum control. We do this by building flexible page templates that can be arranged into a number of different configurations.

Traditional website development calls for the creation of static page templates — home page, landing page, interior content page, etc. The larger and more complex your site, the more templates you’ll likely need. Additional templates add expense to an already costly development process. They also add confusion for your website managers.

We get around these problems by creating templates that can easily be manipulated into different variations by your staff. This puts them in control, ultimately making your website more responsive to your users’ needs.

Instead of restricting all design decisions to the front end of the development process, flexible templates allow you to continue optimizing your site for the duration of its life. The result is a living website that changes and grows with your audience.

Beacon Knows Websites

Have questions or concerns about your website’s performance? Request a free website audit, and let our team evaluate what’s going right and what could use a helping hand.

31 12, 2015

Top 15 Beacon Blog Posts of 2015

By | 2017-06-16T12:23:58+00:00 December 31st, 2015|Categories: Beacon News|Tags: , , |

It’s the last day of 2015!  What a year… and what a great collection of informative blog posts from the Beacon staff!  In case you missed them, here are all the top-rated posts from 2015.  Congrats to our Top 15 authors!

Happy New Year and Happy Reading from Beacon!

The Top 15 Blog Posts Of 2015

 

internet of things  15. Smart Stuff – The Internet Of Things  (by Gary Synan)

An  internet revolution is almost upon us and like many technological breakthroughs, it has already begun without much fanfare and is more of a curiosity and novelty than life changing. Read More.

  14. Flexbox, a Beginner’s Guide  (by Morris Jeffreys)

If you are looking for a more efficient way to layout, align and distribute space of items within a container that is dynamic or size unknown, then Flexbox may be an option. Read More.

  13. How To Integrate ASPDotNetStorefront  (by John Wallwork)

One of the most frequent inquiries we get from customers is what can be done to reduce our cost in managing our website? The business will have back end system…Read More.

  12. Google AdWords Upgraded URLs: A Quick Guide  (by Liz Pagano)

Since your tracking code and landing page URL are combined, any change in tracking code sends your ad into editorial review, where Google has to crawl each altered…Read More.

  11. It’s Thanksgiving! “Never Delay Gratitude”  (by Mark Dirks)

Several years ago, I had the privilege of taking my son, Ryan, to Wake Forest’s Father-Son basketball camp. Now that he is older, in college, and no longer a part of my day…Read More.

Google Analytics Tips and Tricks  10. Avoiding Google Analytics Tracking Issues  (by Gus Kroustalis)

I love that Google Analytics provides out-of-the-box tracking code when setting up a new property. It helps marketers plug & play for a quick turnaround. Unfortunately,…Read More.

  09. Critical Success Factors of Projects  (by Jon Wright)

A recent Gartner survey finds that somewhere between 20% and 28% of all IT Projects fail. This survey goes on to document the main reasons for failure, the top three of which…Read More.

  08. Style Guides for Web Design and Development  (by Keana Lynch)

Developers, designers and web administrators are always looking for ways to improve how they manage the look, feel and complexity when building a web site. This can…Read More.

Basic GA Setup Checklist--Beacon Technologies  07. Basic Google Analytics Setup Checklist: A PDF Document (by Andrea Cole)

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for tracking your digital marketing performance. So powerful and versatile, in fact, that knowing the main important things to focus on…Read More.

  06. A Man Wrote Content To Get Clicks…What Google Did Next Will Blow Your Mind  (by Jordan Burleson)

I’m sure by now most of you have seen, clicked, heard about and even hidden clickbait…Read More.

  05. AspDotNetStorefront 9.5 – Exploring the new release  (by Annette Fowler)

I recently had the opportunity to set up a brand new eCommerce store with AspDotNetStorefront Version 9.5 (released in January 2015) and have the following review. Read More.

  04. 301 Redirects and UTM Parameters  (by Logan Ray)

If you’re a web developer, webmaster, or digital marketer, chances are pretty good that you’ve been involved in 301 redirects at one point or another. Whether it’s another…Read More.

  03. How To Create A Custom Google Map With MyMaps  (by Jordan Burleson)

We all know the power behind Google Maps. We know that it is crucial in helping new businesses get found, getting everyday directions to home or work and places in-between. Read More.

2015-12-30_9-50-41

02. Building a paginated listing with only HTML and CSS for Responsive Design  (by John Vine)

Most paginated listings on the web are managed either with server side logic, javascript, or a combination of both. With the… Read More.

  01. Configuring a SonicWALL TZ-105 Network Security Appliance – Part 1  (by Mike Ratcliffe)

In today’s post I am going to walk you through configuring a SonicWALL TZ-105 Network Security Appliance.Read More.

8 04, 2014

Website Updates For Fall Semester – Start Now!

By | 2017-08-07T15:59:15+00:00 April 8th, 2014|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , |

Beacon2014-marketing-email-Edu-fall

Time to Plan Fall Website Updates

Popular fall initiatives include:

  • Responsive redesignscta-button
  • Updates to news and events functionality
  • Google Analytics configurations, SEO Assessments
  • Responsive retrofits (make your current design responsive)
2 10, 2013

Beacon Invited to Google Analytics Summit this Week

By | 2017-07-20T09:06:17+00:00 October 2nd, 2013|Categories: Beacon News|Tags: , , , |

GA-SummitFor the 7th straight year, representatives from Beacon were invited to the Google Analytics Summit being held in Mountain View CA this week.  Brad Henry, Beacon’s Director of Digital Marketing, is there this week with hundreds of other Google Analytics Certified Partners from around the world.  This year, Google limited the number of invitees as they begin focusing primarily on their new Premium GA product.  Consequently, only GA Premium re-sellers and users were invited, along with the more active GA partners.

Google Analytics has been at the heart of Beacon’s digital marketing services since even before Google purchased the foundation of GA from Urchin,” says Mark Dirks, Beacon’s CEO.  “It’s a big advantage to us, as well as our clients, to be so tightly integrated with Google as a long-term partner in that it gives us the opportunity to meet with and discuss the product with Google’s engineers, network with other partners around the world, and get a first glimpse at new features and strategy for the GA product.”

GA Summit Speaker

Google Analytics Engineering VP, Paul Muret, giving an inspirational and thought-provoking keynote.

Brad Henry returns from the 3-day Summit later this week and will be posting key takeaways and recapping his trip next week.  The Google Analytics Summit is always top-notch as you would expect from Google.  It’s well-run as the GA Team puts a steady stream of engineers and leaders in front of the GA Partners to openly share information, answer questions and get feedback about upcoming and newly released features.

“As one of the longest standing GA Partners in the country, with over 100 implementations of Google Analytics, we are glad that Google recognizes Beacon as a key partner,” says Dirks.  “GA has certainly been an important tool in the success of our clients.”

12 12, 2012

Newly Redesigned Site Launched for Tuggle Duggins Law Firm

By | 2017-08-11T16:29:10+00:00 December 12th, 2012|Categories: Beacon News|

Yesterday, December 6th, we launched the redesigned Tuggle Duggins” website. This is a Cascade site that features the following:

  • Rotating banner images on homepage
  • News and Publications are dynamically fed and visible on homepage
  • Ability to sign up to receive Legal Alerts
  • Attorney listing/detail pages allow the client to easily maintain extensive details about each attorney—including practice areas, education, licensure, admissions, professional organizations, community involvement, etc.
  • Updated Google Custom Search
  • Ability to find an attorney alphabetically or by practice area

 

Here”s a look at what the homepage looked like before the redesign:

Tuggle Duggins Old Site

 

Here is the new homepage:

Tuggle Duggins New Homepage

To see what the rest of the site looks like, visit http://www.tuggleduggins.com.

If you”re looking to redesign your website, make sure to or by calling (866) 488-3620.

20 06, 2012

Dale Pro Audio: AspDotNetStorefront Version Upgrade

By | 2016-10-12T15:30:16+00:00 June 20th, 2012|Categories: Beacon News|

Dale Pro Audio came to us and asked if we would be willing to upgrade their site from Version 8 to Version 9.2 for AspDotNetStorefront. Of course we said yes!

This upgrade was a unique one because the site is hosted at a remote location. So once we got all the access we needed we began work. Along with the upgrade, we added some new features including integrating a chat software, Vortx one page checkout, backoffice netsuite, and Nextopia Search.

John, Miral and Tiffany were the developers that worked on this site. Let’s give them a big round of applause! Good Job guys!

30 03, 2012

University of Hartford jQuery Update

By | 2016-11-21T18:09:27+00:00 March 30th, 2012|Categories: Beacon News|Tags: |

Just a quick shout out about a cool new feature that Beacon recently implemented on the University of Hartford site at http://www.hartford.edu. Hartford has been a long time client and we do updates for them on a regular basis, but we wanted to spotlight this particular item.  It’s a randomized home page banner image (jQuery) that links to a YouTube video player on an interior page. Our client was very pleased, “Most people in my office are looking at the stories, and are saying very positive things. Really great work!”

We would like to say a special thank you to our team members, Tiffany and Annette, who worked on this project. Great job Girls!

15 02, 2012

eWBoard – The Electronic Whiteboard Site Launch

By | 2016-11-22T10:14:42+00:00 February 15th, 2012|Categories: Beacon News|Tags: , , , |

We launched another great site last month for eWboard at http://www.ewboard.com! This site is a highly effective promotional site for IBS’s newest patient tracking software, The Electronic Whiteboard. The Electronic Whiteboard, a sister company of CardioPulse, is a easy, interactive, unified, static, resource management tool that provides true interoperability.

The Electronic Whiteboard

Thanks to the project management and development team for turning around another wonderful website so quickly without issue!

5 01, 2012

Beacon’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011

By | 2016-11-18T14:12:49+00:00 January 5th, 2012|Categories: Beacon News|Tags: , , |

The Beacon Staff wrote nearly 200 blog posts in 2011!  So we are highlighting our Top 10 and want your help to identify the “Beacon Blog Post of the Year”.  Please check them out and leave a comment telling us which one you enjoyed most and why.  Some of these were actually written in 2010, but received enough views in 2011 to make the Top 10 List.

Top 10 Posts by Views

1. Slick Pop-up Video Player using GreyBox & Flowplayer by Thomas Brinegar

2. Google Analytics Event Tracking in a Template File by Eric Westerman

3. Google AI – Artificial Intelligence is the future of Google Search by Jeff Pickle

4. Robots.txt “Disallow” and “No Index” Meta Tag: What ‘s the difference? by Andrea Cole

5. Best PPC Call to Action Keywords by Jeff Pickle

6. Instant Messaging in the Workplace by Annette Fowler

7. XSL for Formatting pubDate from RSS feed by Tiffany May

8. TOMS Designs More Than Cool Shoes by Rick Boccard

9. 100 Call to Action Keywords for ad campaigns by Jeff Pickle

10. Facebook Developer Tools – URL Linter by Tiffany May

 

 

 

 

19 12, 2011

Greensboro Housing Authority Site Launch

By | 2017-08-15T15:53:10+00:00 December 19th, 2011|Categories: Beacon News|Tags: , , , , , , |

We’re proud to announce the release of the Greensboro Housing Authority redesign!  As always, Beacon was right on-time with our deliverables, which is always our goal.  The client chose a soft launch date of December 1, 2011 because they wanted to show the new site to their Board of Directors at their annual meeting that day.

Their Web site was designed and constructed in-house several years ago, which meant that it was time for a completely new look.  The site also had content that was very out-of-date, so the client took it upon themselves to do a complete rewrite of the content, and restructure the site to be more intuitive.  Also, they wanted to get away from having to update the site by-hand using HTML, and wanted it in a content management system.  Finally, they wanted a new Web hosting partner.

Enter Beacon:

  • We provided them with a brand-new graphical design;
  • Developed it to display perfectly in multiple browsers;
  • Implemented the new site into Cascade Server (content management system) to allow multiple users to update the content with an easy-to-use solution;
  • Incorporated a new search feature;
  • Imported approximately 60 pages of content, including 20 fact sheets about each of their properties;
  • Transferred their Web site to a shared hosting package here at Beacon.

Several Beacon staff members made this project a success:

  • Wendy:  Without much direction from the client, Wendy put together a design that they liked on the first try, which is phenomenal.
  • Stephanie:  She was instrumental in getting the project off the ground, attending the initial meetings and providing meeting notes, the business requirements, and proposed site hierarchy.
  • Zed:  He was thrown into the fire, as this was his first development project here.  He developed the front-end HTML/CSS/jQuery, and implemented the site into Cascade Server (which he picked up on very quickly), and entered most of the content.
  • Tiffany:  Provided assistance and training to Zed.
  • Justin:  Project Management and Cascade Server documentation & training.
  • Beacon’s Technical Support Group (TSG):  And finally, no site hosting transfer is complete without the efforts of TSG, specifically Caleb and William, for setting up the hosting and troubleshooting some DNS issues over a weekend.

This is another high-quality design to add to our portfolio, and another non-profit site we can be proud of.   Thanks to everyone involved!

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