Coastal Data Management Blog

19 October 2012 - Web Site Graphic Design - Key Visual and Navigation Factors

Web Site Graphic Design - Key Visual and Navigation Factors

Regardless of the size of your business, an effective website is one of your greatest assets. It is your online storefront, and represents you to your worldwide customer base. It is, therefore, critical that your website be well designed and visually appealing.

VP-ASP Shopping Cart Software for Better Website Design

To that end, good website designers pay close attention to graphics and ease of navigation when putting together a site. These are key factors in making your website attractive to consumers. VP-ASP shopping cart software provides the tools you'll need to give visual expression to your business, as well as help customers navigate the ordering process.

You can choose a ready-made template that best conveys your message. VP-ASP shopping cart software is designed to eliminate overly-complicated graphics and the frustration that comes from hard-to-navigate website design. With this software, you can ensure that the key factors in good design are integrated into your site.

What are these factors? For ease of use, both visual and navigation issues are most important. Visually, your site should contain text that is neither too large nor too small. Link colors should be easily distinguishable, and background colors should not make the text difficult to read. VP-ASP shopping cart software is a creative and cost-effective way to ensure that your site conforms to these basic rules.

Navigation is Simplified with VP-ASP Shopping Cart Software

Nothing turns off potential customers faster than an awkward, hard-to-navigate website. Making it easy for people to get usable information, and make their purchases, virtually ensures an increase in business for you. VP-ASP shopping cart software makes navigating your site easy. With it, website graphic designers can create an intuitive site that will make shopping a pleasure.

An organized, visually appealing website is one of the keys to increased revenue for your business. By paying attention to some key visual and navigation factors, you can give yourself an advantage over your online competitors. VP-ASP shopping cart software will help you create a website that shows your business in the best possible light, and gives you the edge.

19 October 2012 - Web Design & Development: Attributes of Good Design

Web Design & Development: Attributes of Good Design

You've decided to put up a website, so how do you go about it? First of all, if you are not a programmer, you will be best served by hiring a web designer or a web design company. Shop around and ask people who have websites for their recommendations. Ask questions about the quality of a designer's code.
Look at sites he/she has designed. Look for easy navigation and pleasing design.

Preparing to take your message into cyberspace
Before you hire a web designer, there are some things that you and you, alone, must do.

Purpose. Don't make the mistake of going to all of this trouble and cost if you don't have a clearly designed purpose for your website. It's all too easy to make this decision simply on the basis that everyone else is doing it. Are you putting up an online store? Then your purpose will be to sell stuff. Are you providing valuable, specialized information to people who would be interested in it? Then your purpose is to find an audience for your information. Your purpose will be unique to you, but just be sure you have defined it for yourself before launching your project. Think in terms of what you expect to happen once the site is up.

Audience. Who will be the best possible clients for your product? Or who will want to know the information you are sharing? What kind of computer will they be likely to use? iPod? Desktop? Office computer? Apple? PC? Make a guess as to how experienced they will be at retrieving information. Making accurate guesses about all of these will determine what your website will look like and how successful it will be in accomplishing your purpose.

Content. If you have clearly defined your purpose, then creating good content should come fairly easily. It's important first of all to collect the information you need on your site and then arrange it in such a way that it can be easily and logically accessed. Take a second and then a third look to be sure everything that is needed is included and that no superfluous information is included. Viewers will be impatient if you waste their time.

Now you©re ready to work with a designer. Ask for frequent reviews of the site so you can be sure you're getting what you want and are paying for. Once the designer has finished work and the pages are ready for launching, make certain they're attractive, easy to navigate, don't contain superfluous information, and will accomplish your purpose. You might even put together a focus group to pass judgment on the effectiveness of the overall site and to make recommendations for improvement.

19 October 2012 - VP-ASP Open Source Ecommerce- Top 5 Business Advantages

VP-ASP Open Source Ecommerce
Top 5 Business Advantages

Shopping Carts
VP-ASP is the shopping cart you©ve been waiting for!
It provides everything an online store could require. It is extremely versatile and can meet the needs of the smallest, simplest shop but also the most complex one, with no html required. It©s infinitely flexible, as well.

Because it©s open source and written in ASP, it©s extremely customizable. Your online store front will not look like any other. VP-ASP Open-Source shopping basket will interface with MS Access and MS SQL. It©s language and currency conversion features make it convenient to sell internationally.

VP-ASP software will keep records on your customers and track orders. It can even accommodate merchandise returns and replacements. It©s adaptable. Its open-source feature makes it possible to integrate into a standing site or even to create a new site from scratch.

Gift Certificates
VP-ASP Open Source eCommerce software makes it easy for you to sell gift certificates that can be used to pay for products in your shop, creating dramatic increases in sales during gift-giving seasons. You can customize the certificate itself, and also to allow the customer to send a message along with the certificate. You can build in controls by automatically specifying a minimum value and use-by dates.

Discount Coupons
You can offer discount coupons in any amount or percentage. The coupons can be designed to apply to specific products or to everything in the online store. Dates when the coupon goes into effect and when it has expired can be applied and the number of times a coupon can be used can be limited by the online seller.

Affiliate System
VP-ASP e-commerce software offers a built-in Affiliate System, which allows you to track the associate sales you are making with specific affiliates or distributors. It records the path a customer takes to your site, using the affiliate©s designated code. You can view detailed reports on the number of visits, number of sales, commission and automatic registration of an affiliate.

Customer Feedback
This solution to online vending includes the capability to accept customer feedback, including reviews and comments. These can also be displayed at your initiative whenever the product is displayed.

19 October 2012 - Technical Support and Custom Programming for VP-ASP

Technical Support and Custom Programming for VP-ASP

Before hiring a website design company, there are a couple of things you should consider. Does the company offer good technical support? Can they handle custom programming? Creating and launching a new site requires not only the expertise of graphic designers, but also a lot of behind-the-scenes technical help. If you are considering using VP-ASP cart software to design your site, you©ll want to use a web design service familiar with this versatile software.

Technical Support for VP-ASP Cart Software

There are several criteria you can use when assessing a company's abilities in the area of technical support for VP-ASP cart software. First, look at how they manage inquiries and help requests. All requests should be answered in a timely manner and communications kept open until the request is completed.

Also, your web designer should offer a variety of options for how tech issues are handled and billed. Often, technical support for VP-ASP cart software will require a phone call, but sometimes matters can be resolved through email. Billing is usually done either on a "per call© basis or for a monthly fee.

It's also a good idea to have a provision for ongoing maintenance items, such as the latest security updates. The main consideration, though, is the ability of your service to quickly assess and solve your problems as they come up. A good web design service will be familiar with your VP-ASP cart software and will be able to respond promptly with appropriate solutions.

VP-ASP Cart Software Custom Programming for your Site

Custom programming offers the flexibility to design your own site from scratch, or to modify existing web design software to meet your specific needs. Your web service should offer custom programming in conjunction with your VP-ASP cart software, in order to give you the most options for your site.

A good design service will be familiar with all programming issues. Being able to respond to server upgrades and even anticipate necessary changes to your site will keep your online presence fresh and relevant over time. For this reason, custom programming for VP-ASP cart software is a vital part of site maintenance.

19 October 2012 - VPASP Open Source Ecommerce - The Top 5 Benefits for Small Business

VPASP Open Source Ecommerce -
The Top 5 Benefits for Small Business

You want to start your own e-commerce business, but when you think of what it will take to achieve your goal, you are discouraged. First of all, you need to put up an e-commerce website, so you©ll need website design assistance. Then your site will need a shopping cart, so you©ll need e-commerce software.

You©ll need a catalog, which will require specialized e-commerce software. You©ll need a powerful magnet to bring customers to your website, so it must be search-engine friendly. You hope to attract international customers, so you©ll need a currency converter. You©ll need to accept credit card payments, so you©ll want software that ensures security, software that will help you keep track of sales, create invoices, keep track of inventory, and make tax preparation easy.

What you need is VPASP open-source e-commerce shopping-cart software! Even before you put up your website, this software, written in ASP, will simplify your start-up and cut down on the time it will take to get your online store up and running.

Advantages of VPASP Open-Source E-commerce Software

  1. You can use this e-commerce software to start a website from scratch.
    No .html is required. Even untrained users can create a website. Your online store front can reflect your own tastes and preferences, and you won©t need to hire a website designer every time you want to change it.
  2. It integrates seamlessly with existing websites.
    Simply add hyperlinks or forms from your site to the self-contained VPASP software. This will allow you to use facilities such as, adding products, searching products, displaying categories, and viewing the cart contents. 
  3. You can develop your catalogs with this software.
    Creating catalogs and keeping them up-to-date can be a very large task for a start-up online store, but VPASP Open-Source E-commerce Software makes it manageable.
  4. You can easily expand your online marketing efforts with SEO add-ons.
    VPASP SEO Package allows you to create search engine friendly pages, which is critical for inclusion in the online search databases. You can also create Google and Yahoo! sitemaps with the click of a button, create keyword-rich names for your pages, and use unique meta tags.
  5. You can offer rewards to your customers using the Customer Loyalty System.
    This is a great way to retain your customers and keep them coming back for more! The customer accumulates points by buying goods at your store. The customer can then redeem all or some of their points. Points can be converted to gift certificate or discount coupon.
Concluding Thoughts Rarely is a small-business operator in start-up mode able to purchase software that will meet his needs over the long-run. VPASP software will do that. It works as well for large businesses as it does for small ones. It will serve your needs for the foreseeable future©through start-up to a mid-size business to a large online store, if that is your ultimate goal.

19 October 2012 - How To Build an Ecommerce Website

Guide to Building an eCommerce Store

Whether you are starting an online store from scratch, or adding an eCommerce module to an existing business, it is important you first come up with a realistic plan to implement and maintain your online presence. This guide is a quick outline of the steps involved in building a full featured, easy to use, ecommerce shopping cart that fits in with any eBusiness Plan

1. Pick a Domain Name
Your domain name is how customers will find you on the web. Each name is unique, similar to telephone numbers. At this point, most of the common or easy to remember domain names were registered early on, however, if you research all of the variations of your preferred names, there are still plenty of cleaver options available. A few things to keep in mind:

  • .COM is the most common and memorable extension, so it's wise to find a unique name using that extension.
  • Try to include you main keyword in the domain name, as long as it doesn't force you into a 26 character domain.
  • Keep the name memorable and clear, but not too long.
  • If you're having difficulty going that route, think of something cleaver, much like Yahoo! and Google!.
  • Think about how the name will fit into your logo. This is how customers will identify you.

2. Decide on a Company to Host Your eCommerce Site
There are hundreds of thousands web host companies, each with their own twist. Many inexpensive companies offer their own eCommerce solutions with built-in payment gateways, etc., however, many times, you are locked into their program and your growth is hampered by their limitations. It is critical for your future growth and success to have a stand alone package that can be altered and/or moved at your discretion. CDM offers individual web site hosting packages, which include a dedicated IP address, an MS SQL database for your storefront and plenty of web space and bandwidth to allow for growth. We also offer hosting services directly through VP-ASP.

3. Web Design
Competition on the internet is fierce. You may have only a few seconds to grab the attention of your audience. The first most important ingredient to a successful online business is having a professional, fast loading, easy to navigate web design. You can have the greatest looking web site, but if it takes too long to load, viewers will quickly move on to your competitor. Your design should be optimized to load quickly with clear top and side navigational links to all the major areas your site. There are a variety of computers, screen resolutions and browsers out there, so be sure to test your final design in each. Avoid fonts that are not easy to read, or fonts that will not likely be found by default on most computers. Optimize all of your images to speed up the download time. Avoid overloading a page with graphics and moving images that give it a cluttered appearance. Finally test, test, test before going live. CDM offers reasonably priced custom design services that will help you stand out from the crowd. Request your FREE quote today.

4. Shopping Cart Software
Selling your products or services online will require an eCommerce software package. This package should help you to easily setup an online catalog broken out by categories, sub-categories and products. It should also include utilities such as picture upload/resizing, adding product features, updating pricing, offering coupons, and all the other day to day functions you©ll need to run your business efficiently. We highly recommend VP-ASP Shopping Cart Software. Most importantly, you will own the software license should you want to move it at any time and it is an open source ASP program, which will allow for unlimited customization as your company grows.

5. Accepting Payments
It is advisable to offer your customers a few options for payment, however, credit cards are the most widely used method. There are a few steps involved:

  • Payment Gateway: This is a software program or script that connects your shopping cart software with the payment processing system. If you run a search on Google, you will see that there are numerous ones to choose from. Some will include a merchant accounts, other simply deposit the money directly into the account of your choice. The most popular are AuthorizeNet and Paypal.
  • SSL (Secure Socket Layer): This assures your customers that your storefront payment system is in a secure environment. You will notice a little lock on the bottom of top of page and the web address will also change from http:// to https://. If you are processing payments on the gateway server, this may not be necessary, however, we recommend that you obtain one, as many customers still like to see that the information they provide on your site is secure. CDM offers Comodo SSL Certificates.

6. Promotion
You can build a primo eCommerce storefront, however, if you don©t promote the site, you will never realize the sales. There are several way to promote your site, some inexpensive and some very expensive. You may want to begin by announcing your online store to your existing and past customers via a mail, telephone or email campaign. You will also need to address the online community by having your site li../nk show up in the result pages of the major search engines. CDM offers some VP-ASP add-ons to help in this area, as well as web site maintenance and promotional services. Please feel free to contact us for suggestions.

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