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Archive for December, 2008

The Cloud and Software as a Service ( SaaS ) An Introduction

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Primarily a web-based application, ‘Software as as Service’ – or SaaS as it is more commonly known (or even Software on Demand, but we won’t get too carried away in this introduction!) – is a way that some software applications can be accessed, by webmasters, developers, and their customers instantly anywhere using only an internet browser.  It also allows them to offer the customer, or end user, good value software applications that can if needed be adapted specifically for their use.

The cloud is a simply a metaphor for the Internet. On the whole, a service under the cloud offers much more flexibility, reduced initial outlay, and a time saving where applications that are very complicated no longer have to be pre-configured by the webmaster or developer. As the service is hosted on the internet users only need an internet connection and web browser to be able to use it.

Users would in the past access software though local installations either exclusively on their own computer or perhaps downloads from third party servers but now, website developers are able to offer access to software instantly from ‘the cloud’ so that multiple numbers of end users can access it directly from their own pc.

Another benefit is that updates are free and centralised which keeps costs down but at the same time users are  able to access more specific areas and modules to suit their preferences.

Customers no longer need to pay out for costly licensees and / or subscriptions that traditionally would have provided additional access to applications that were not required. Now the developer can offer not only direct access, but it can be offered to multiple users direct to their own pc through the standard internet browser.

We have written further articles regarding a selection of SaaS software benefits and applications if you would like to read further:

  • What is Inventory Management Software
  • Order Management Systems
  • Stock Control

Integrating Order Management Systems

Web Marketing Strategy – Promotion is Key

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Tell us that you don't know just how many websites there are you might be competing with, and we'll tell you how to find out.  If you don't already know, a good an well researched web marketing strategy is, in today's web, the absolute minimum you should have to set your website on the road to real success.

Very much a core part of the design, your marketing strategy should fit right up there at the top of the list.  Why?  Because a website will not gain customers, nor will it gain sales or indeed interest, if it is not being correctly promoted.

Why Online Marketing?
Well, there are so many web businesses being built as we speak so yours needs to stand out, must be easy to use, and must provide your shopper with such a good user experience that they come right back when they're ready to buy again.

In order to turn those visitors that have simply found you from entering a term into, say, Google or Yahoo!, you need to be able to convert them and turn them into a buyer instead of a window shopper.

It is no longer sufficient to make a site look good, the layout, overall design and functions on a site will make or break it and should have plenty of information without being out of context – the texts should be relevant to your key business.

Planning and research further on that a nice home page is hugely important, so much so that the user has to be able to sail through the site – finding the products they need, the information they want in order to make a purchasing decision, as well as the ecommerce system you have chosen to aid them to finally buy that product.

Your shopper wants information quickly so they only have to take a short time to make a decision.  If you get this right from the beginning, there you will have your loyal customer who is willing to remain your customer and not your competitors.

Web marketing needs to be part of your web strategy from the outset, get the site right then market and promote it, the visitors you get will return for more of the same if the layout, cleanliness of design, and navigation are right first time round.

See our Marketing Websites article for more details