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Static vs. Dynamic web pages

27th May 2010

A static web page is a document (a file) which contains all of the information necessary to display the page content (though it may draw images and styles from other places). These are typically named [something].html.

A dynamic web page pulls information from a database, and so may serve many different purposes. For example a dynamic product page can be used to display different products depending on what parameters are given.

Whether or not you edit the website using a content management system, that system could potentially produce static or dynamic pages

Some people favour static pages for speed and for google spidering.

Speed can be an issue if the server is being pushed to the limit, but web servers are still able to cache dynamic pages in many situations, so static pages may not have that much of an 'edge'.

Google likes web pages with names that make sense, so toaster.html rather than product.php?r=9219192. However, tools like mod_rewrite and ISAPIRewrite can turn static-looking web addresses into calls to dynamic pages, so you really don't need static pages to impress search engines.

The big disadvantage of static pages is that they can never do clever things like saying 'welcome back, [name]', or displaying your current basket total in the corner.

We always recommend dynamic pages, unless there is a specific, proven speed issue and extra hardware is prohibitively expensive.

What is Google Analytics?

24th May 2010
Categories: analytics, seo

Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that can let you examine users' behaviour on any site.

It can be hooked up to Google Adwords, but it can also be free-standing.

Once you have signed up, Google will give you a small piece of code to place in the HTML of your website, which sends information back to Google. Using this information, Google can give you graphs and usage statistics, including a breakdown of referring websites and search engines.

You can also use Google Analytics to track goals - for example, downloads and forms being filled in. Attaching separate pieces of code to these events means Google can let you see how users are being funneled into these events.

To give it a try, browse to: http://www.google.com/analytics

Getting users to get in touch

18th May 2010

When considering a contact form on your website, what do you put on it?

We've found that when our customers add a contact form (in addition to phone + email details) a significant proportion of website contacts come through that form.

In other words, many people don't like to pick up the phone or write an email; they prefer to simply fill in a form and get you to contact them.

Two other variations on the contact form are popular:

"Call me back" asks the user to type a phone number and name (and optionally the best time to call). This can send an email to your company, or it could pop up a window on a call centre operator's computer if you have many operators standing by to make calls.

"Live chat" is strictly for companies with a decent number of support operatives standing by. This again pops up a window on an operator's computer and lets the user chat in real time. Less pressure than a phone call but just as immediate.

How can a website represent a business?

3rd May 2010

Nearly everyone knows by now that most people who interact with an organisation on a meaningful level (i.e. any deeper than buying a low-cost commodity) will check out that organisation's website.

This of course includes customers, suppliers, staff, shareholders, and many other groups of people.

Sometimes without knowing it, these people are judging the organisation by its website.

So one way in which a website should reflect a business is by appearing as professional and trustworthy as the business itself.

But more than that, a website should reflect the processes of the business.

If customers buy from you, is there a way for them to do this (or to learn about it) on the website?

If you offer customer support, can the website help?

If your staff interact with customers, can they use the back end of the website to process those interactions? And so on.

Every time a business process is put in place, thought should be given to how that could be mapped onto the website.

Whenever this happens, there are potential savings in time and money, and potential benefits in terms of reaching audiences.

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Oxford
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01865 596 144

Oxford Web is a trading name of Alberon Ltd, registered company no. 5765707 (England & Wales).