web applications | Oui Blog

Learning About Customers Through Site Engagement

| Business | No Comments

More than a decade ago, Bill Gates made an ominous prediction that, by the end of 2002, any business without an online presence would no longer be in business, as reported by Entrepreneur. Despite the rush of users to the Internet—nearly 79 percent of people in North America are online, according to the Internet World Stats website—amazingly enough, some operations can be successful without being online. Local diners, childcare facilities and retail stores still manage to do business quite well through drop-in visitors and word of mouth alone.

Learning About Customers Through Site Engagement

The ability of the Internet, however, to help a business grow is unsurpassed. A consumer survey conducted by business review website Yelp found that 85 percent of consumers use the Internet to get information on local businesses. A company that’s online will be able to draw in a greater audience, but, perhaps more importantly, having an online presence also makes consumers visible to a company. This allows a business owner to learn more about current customers, potential customers and where the business’s services are most in need.

Physical Location Data

Let’s say a restaurant is located in a trendy neighborhood where a select group of locals come to shop and hang out on weekends. Enough of them pass by from Friday night through Sunday afternoon to make weekend sales the backbone of the business. The rest of the week, between paying staff and utilities, the restaurant only breaks even, despite the killer two-hand tacos that come out of the kitchen. There just isn’t enough interest in chowing down on the best Mexican in town from Monday through Thursday. Or is there?

Some of the website analytics and statistical data that can be garnered from online traffic will tell you where site visitors are geographically located. Plug-ins that record this type of statistical data are available even with the simplest (and freest) of website frameworks, such as WordPress. If that Mexican restaurant in the trendy neighborhood gets enough hits from IP addresses assigned to a college 10 miles away, it indicates a high level of interest in that area. Might it be worth opening a branch near the college, or even moving operations? Or is it already in the ideal location?

The point of any business is to convert curious site visitors to customers, and knowing where a business is drawing interest can be a game changer when it comes to keeping a full house every night of the week.

Virtual Location Data

The physical location of site visitors is just one important facet when it comes to analyzing online traffic. How a user found your site is equally important. If half the traffic on a site gets there from a specific review page on Yelp or Citysearch, that’s a good place to expand company information or even to advertise. By knowing how users found their way to the site, a business owner knows where to focus attention.

Increasing Exposure while Gaining Vital Information

Although some businesses can take their chances on surviving without it, having a solid website means being visible to those who rely on the Internet to discover local businesses. In the example of our Mexican restaurant, an online presence can help the place expand its profitability by introducing it to potential customers on the other side of the city who may be willing to drive out of their way for the best taco in town.

Keep in mind that a website doesn’t need to be complex. A basic WordPress site with a good WordPress hosting company that ensures minimal downtime will get the job done. Just make sure your site is easy to navigate and provides useful information, such as contact information, business hours and info on products and services. An effective site will achieve two goals for your company simultaneously: help consumers find the business and help the business learn more about its consumers.

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Top 2 PHP Frameworks for Web Development

| Web Development | No Comments

Oh my, i love web development. Creating a complete new world, with loads of functionalities, lots of categories, different information by different queries, and the complex problems that i enjoy solving, makes it the perfect job for me. I do not ever remember being frustrated (except for a problem that does not surrender to my superior thinking skills) while doing web development. Is just me when 5 stacking up complex lego structures, but with the text editor and the LAMP Server. I love creating e-commerce websites, web applications, personal blogs, tech blogs, Q & A websites, infomecials.

And i love having my job made easier for me so i can finish my task much faster. This is where the PHP frameworks come in to my rescue and take the daunting task of building the lowest things ( the session handler, the database abstraction, the URL resolver, the REST server, and all that jazz) from my hands so i can concentrate on doing something more important like building an attractive prototype, using my own MAVC design pattern for the view to send information to the controllers via AJAX, write the JavaScript, have the controllers send updates like in Facebook to the user’s view, and generally modifying the user interface / functionality for the better. Oh, and i also forgot, implementing nice features.

So, if the frameworks ease our job, the good ones will do the job of easing our job much better. This makes me reach the conclusion that we must locate the best out of the best.

So let’s start with my favorite one:

1 – Laravel

Laravel is a web application framework with a very elegant syntax design, out of the box ORM for handling the database in a human-readable fashion, and a very beautiful templating engine called blade that replaces the PHP’s ugly alternative syntax.

Having said that, Laravel also is capable of:

  • Loose coupling and dynamic instantiation via the IoC Container
  • Awesome Routing feature to build REST Controllers
  • A default SMTP server configuration that works pretty good for sending messages out of the box

Enough of Laravel, let’s talk about the second favorite of mine:

2 – CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is the first PHP Framework that i started working with, and is one of the easiest frameworks to set-up, learn, and start working. I remember being able to use it fairly well without having to practice it’s usage (The syntax and the function set is very organized).

The only that annoys me in this framework, is that, i have to write all the models myself (save the function that i made for  doing SELECT WHERE’s with the string from the $column_name argument for my convenience ). It is a pretty tedious process to me (as i tend to deal with an amount of tables in my applications and have to write a separate model for each table in the damn database).

The main features are:

  • Full MVC like the majority of the PHP frameworks out there
  • Very good session library that i use for authentication with no issues
  • Very light and fast if you know how to use it correctly.

This is all about CodeIgniter for now.

Thanks for the read and see you soon!



























Top Google Services that Will Make your Life Easier

| News | No Comments

I bet most of you already know that Google has more functionalities than the search, but never really gave them a though except for mail. Well, here i am to make a huge claim that Google is all you need for starting to produce things.

Most of you don’t know the fact that you can use google for document creation (Text Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations and all that jazz ), that you can use it as your default storage space, have your website promoted by it very well for a fee, get your profitable blog or website with it, and keep a list of the tasks that you need to complete via the Calendar! You can outrightly call Google a bundle for your productivity.

So let’s start listing them!

1 – Google Mail aka Gmail

Google Mail is one of the oldest web applications in the game, and is still the biggest competitor to the alternatives like Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail. It supports file attachments, chat with other gmail users, you can set to receive and send mails on your desktop via it’s SMTP server, and combined with the new Google Drive, makes it easy to send huge files to your friends in very short times. It is used by most reputable businesses (for it’s reliableness and functionality). You have the option to use labels like from: and to: etc to sort through mails and do very fast searches.

2 – Google Drive

I use this as my main back up and to store the few files that i don’t want accesible to everyone. Our uncle Google gives us 10 Gigabytes of free space! Combined with Google Docs, you can create documents, spreadsheet, presentations for your work and have them stored right there for convenience.

3 – Google Docs

The Web’s equivalent of Microsoft Office, this one is simply a too awesome tool in times when you are too lazy or do not have time to install an office suite (albeit i recommend using Google Docs as your default tool). Makes my heart warm to see popular Desktop applications move to the web like this. Applauses for Google.

4 – Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a tool that helps you view your visitor count, get your rank up, verify your search engine status, and many things for you to be able to track and improve your website’s popularity.

5 – Google Calendar

Google Calendar is an application that will help you create memos, set up tasks for different dates, and have them reminded to you via a desktop notification or a sound. This application is pretty good when you don’t want to use software in order to be able to use a calendar, so here it is at your disposal.

6 – Google Translator

Can’t talk to your associate? Can’t say i love you and “Please don’t dump me, no real life woman ever accepted me, at least you accept me please” in your online girlfriend’s language? Well here is Google Translate to help you in your endeavours in talking to your associates, talking with friends, and your online gilfriend which is actually a man in real life.