How to Choose a Website Design Company for your Small Business

What to look for in a website development company?  Times have changed.  They’ve actually gotten simpler.  Once upon a time, it made sense to have a professional website company design a scratch site for your business and wait 6 months to a year for it to come to fruition.  Once upon a time it made sense to have discussion after discussion about look, feel, content, and functionality.  Once upon a time, it made sense to spend $5-10K or more for a small business website.  But like the dinosaur, those days are dead.

If you are a mid to large size business with complex logistical, accounting, manufacturing, or other systems, then read no further.  You should still have a hand tailored custom website and this info does not apply.  Stop Reading now.

But if you are a small business that wants to have a presence on the web, showcase your products, and or services, sell products or services, rank well with the search engines, have membership layers, and add content easily on the fly, then read on.

It is no longer necessary to build sites from scratch, have complex development schedules, and pay a lot for a website.  Websites have evolved over the last 10 years (for the better).   Website development platforms have become Open Source.  Check out the Wiki on Open Source.  An example of open source is Apple.  Apple made their platform open source and allowed 3rd party programmers to develop cool “apps” for the Apple platform.  Apple allows those programmers to sell their stuff in the Apple store and Apple takes a cut.

Websites are similar now.  Website platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are all written on the PHP platform and actually store all their data in a SQL database.  If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, the point here is that they are Open Source.

WordPress is, by far, the most popular and has 1000’s of 3rd parties writing code for “add on functionality” to the basic WordPress foundation.  The great thing about WordPress is that it IS an excellent foundation from which to build a website.  Think of it as a solid foundation from which to build your home.  All you need to do is add a theme (the look and feel of the site), and some “Plug-ins” (added functionality to a site).  That’s it.  You can actually do it all without writing a single line of code!

But it’s still complicated and not for the technically challenged.  It’s also not for a business owner who has better things to do (like run the operations of their business).  Lastly, many clients do wish to have some custom code added to make it just the way they want it.

So now that you know what WordPress is, you’ll understand why so many web design companies (whether they tell you or not) are designing sites with WordPress or one of the other content management systems like the others already mentioned.

So, if everyone is using the same foundation, what makes the website developers different?  Experience!  Anyone can throw together a WordPress site, it’s not hard, (it’s just time consuming for the uninitiated).  It is what comes AFTER the basic installation that separates the wheat from the chaff.  You’ll want a company that has 1000’s of hours of researching these 1000’s of add on programs that make your site go way beyond the basics.  One of the BAD things about open source is people write evil programs that masquerade as something cool and shiny, but it’s really a Trojan Horse that will eventually destroy a site.  You’ll want a developer that knows the good from the bad, and won’t need an additional 3 months of time to research the difference.

One huge differentiator is how a website designer will apply security to your site.  Think you won’t get hacked?  It is not a matter of “If” nowadays, it is a matter of “when”.  ALL websites are targets.  Hackers in Russia, China, and many other foreign countries use automated programs to hack sites.  Why would they hack your little ole’ small business site?  Because they can.  They can take over your site, turn it into Swiss cheese and link out to porn, Viagra, fake sunglasses, and fake handbag sites – and they get PAID to do this.  They can take over your mail server and send spam to the world until your host deletes your account for violating their TOS (terms of service).  Hackers don’t care who you are.  It’s all automated, and their programs seek out the path of least resistance, and hack hack hack until they break in and take over.  By the time you realized you’ve been hacked, it’s too late – it’s usually when you get delisted by Google that the business owner notices – and then you have a long road to recovery.

If you’re considering letting a website design ‘expert” create a website for you and they say, “It’s totally ok to host your site on a shared server like GoDaddy.com”, then run away, far away, fast.  If they say, “Oh, WordPress is secure by itself, and you won’t get hacked”, run away, far far away.

Shared servers are famously thin and easy to hack.  They are also alluring due to their low cost.  Do you really want to trust your website to a $7.99 per month shared server on GoDaddy?  I’ve actually heard “developers” tell people this is OK as a way to undercut cost and try to get the job.  GoDaddy shared servers are awesome for a blog about your cat, but for your business?  Your livelihood?  I don’t think so.

Look for a web design company that uses dedicated servers and incorporates an additional 10+ layers of security to shield your site from hackers.  A company that educates your users on safe website practices from their keyboard to the Linux server their precious data resides on.  What about backups in the case that the worst actually does happen?  Oh, yeah – you’ll want that, too!

Another differentiating factor between website developers is – what if you already have a site that ranks well on Google and you just need a facelift and added functionality?  Do they have the skills to make sure you don’t lose any of that “Google Juice” that is already contributing to good search rankings?   This part actually requires the ability to write some code, so get details from the potential developer.  You can get “snake oiled” here and you won’t know the results until after your check has been cashed and spent.

There’s more!  Tons more!  SEO; Social Media Integration; “Share-ability”; Scalability, the list goes on.  These are just a few of the things that separate website design professionals from the ones who simply know how to throw a site together and make it look pretty.

Remember, ask a lot of questions, check out several of the sites they’ve already done, and spend just a few minutes speaking to their references.   This is the only way to tell if they can get the job done on time and within budget.  You may end up saving a ton of $$$ and you will certainly save a lot of time and aggravation!

Let us create something cool for you!  AVT Marketing

 

 

Aerial Video of Ballantyne in Charlotte, NC

The Ballantyne area in South Charlotte is synonymous with expensive homes, fine dining, nice shopping, and recreation. From the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge to the Ballantyne Country Club to the 535 acre Ballantyne Corporate Park, it’s one of the most affluent areas in Charlotte. It also offers some great aerial video scenes.

The aerial video is titled “A slice of Ballantyne” because it does not intend to be a complete showcase of the entire area – just some cool footage I was able to obtain during a few quick fly overs.

Enjoy the aerial video of the Ballantyne Area in South Charlotte

Aerial Video Footage of Fort Mill & Tega Cay, SC

Having been a Fort Mill and Tega Cay photographer and videographer for over 7 years now, I have filmed a lot in this area from the ground. I’ve always wanted to get a camera up in the air and see what the bird sees. Now I have, and here it is for you to see. Enjoy the aerial videography of Fort Mill and Tega Cay.

For those that don’t know, the Fort Mill – Tega Cay area is located just outside Charlotte, NC but on the South Carolina side of the border.

Be sure to watch in HD, and please, share it with someone you know who also loves this place!

 

Aerial Photography of Charlotte, NC Home

So I recently did some normal everyday ground based real estate photography for a couple of really beautiful homes in Charlotte and they were on huge tracks of land.  How better to photograph them then from up in the air.  I’ve been flying drones for years, (although I hate the term drones – but when you call it by its right name, a multi-copter or quadcopter, people look at your weird).  Anyway, just for the fun of it, I sent the “drone” up to take some video and photos.

Aerial videography and photography are all the rage right now but I have held off on offering it commercially because the FAA still has not provided clear rules as to the use of drones for commercial use.

In the mean time enjoy these aerial images of some really beautiful homes on some amazing lots.

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Video Tour of 1668 Glenway Dr in Clover SC

Full Motion Video Tour of 1668 Glenway Dr in Clover SC brought to you by  http://www.nicolettewiggam.com/ 

 


 
Awesome Location in neighborhood across from Clover HS, this home is within walking distance to the Middle School & High School. Lovingly maintained home with awesome updates in pristine condition. Quartz Kitchen, Double Oven & Hardwood Flooring is just the beginning. Keeping room next to the kitchen, Formal Dining, Hardwoods begin at entry and continue thru Kitchen, Breakfast Niche, Keeping room & Dining room. Full Living room with Fireplace, hearth, access to screened in porch.

Contact Nicolette Wiggam for a personal showing: 704-281-7719

Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2.5 bathrooms
Square Feet: 3288
Price: $299,000
MLS ID: 3050211

How To Protect Your Webcam from Hackers

It’s all over the news. Russian hackers are hacking into US and European web cams, baby monitors, and the like to not only spy on you, but they have a website where the feeds from the cams are shown all over the world. This begs the question, “Has my webcam been hacked”?

Best viewed in full screen in HD

Bonterra Builders Presents Cedarvale Farm

Welcome to Cedarvale Farm, a Bonterra Builders’ community that offers a unique lifestyle combining all of the advantages of today’s energy efficient, quality crafted new homes within the context of community that preserves the history of the past. Located in Cabarrus County , but still only minutes from I 485, Cedarvale Farm is the perfect pairing of past and present.

Community amenities include a picturesque 8 acre pond nestled in a rolling woodland setting, walking trails and community sidewalks. Additionally, developer proposed amenities include a pool and cabana located within the community.

Bonterra Builders is pleased to offer our Award Winning Manor Collection Homes in Cedarvale Farm. Our homes here are priced from the mid 200s to the 400s. Our model portfolio is sized from approx.2800 to 3800 sq. ft. and include one story, master up and master down two story plans.

Our designer model at Cedarvale Farm is the Oakmont II.  Check out the video to see the rest!

 

Check out the photos here

Please contact Bonterra Builders today at 704-455-1175 to see this, or any one of their many communities around Charlotte, NC 

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Real Estate Video Tour ~ 18 Acre Home in Troutman, NC

Joy Young and AVT Marketing / Amazing Video Tours are proud to bring you this full motion real estate video tour of a fantastic 18 Acre Home in Troutman, North Carolina.

 

 

Here are just some of the highlights of this fabulous property:

17.89 Acres offers country living at its best!

Enjoy the fishing spring feed pond stocked with bass & brim

Stream runs through property

Fenced 15 acre pasture land currently used for cattle

3 stall pole barn 2nd pole barn for hay storage

Tree lined back of property offers great views of land and potential building site for second house.

Organic garden with 6 blueberry, 6 raspberry, 6 blackberry and 2 apple trees Enjoy the Equestrian friendly community

Wood heating system with back up heat pump

Custom built one owner home

Enter from rocking chair front porch

Screened porch off back looking over property

Soaring vaulted ceiling, office, formal dining rm, spacious kitchen with solid surface countertops.

Open loft

Incredible lower level great entertaining area, lots of storage and opportunity for home theater and workout room.

3 car garage

Around 3800 sq ft

3 bedroom plus 4th room on lower level used for bedroom 4 bedroom

Septic system

3.5 baths

Great location with easy acces to interstate 77, Lake Norman and Charlotte

 

View all the photos by clicking here

 

Contact Joy Young to schedule a personal showing at 704-873-1983

 

—– ©2014 – AVTmarketing.com – All Rights Reserved. AVT Marketing is Charlotte’s Premier Real Estate Video Virtual Tour and Photography Provider for Realtors, and other businesses looking to add compelling photography and/or video to their website or blog. We also develop and design websites

 

 

 

Bonterra Builders Presents Verdict Ridge – Full Motion Video Tour

Bonterra Builders is proud to bring you this video of Verdict Ridge located in Denver, NC. Video by AVT Marketing / Amazing Video Tours

Check out the full motion real estate video here:

 Check out the Photos by clicking here!

Video Script:

Bonterra Builders welcomes you to Verdict Ridge Golf and Country Club is located on the quiet, west side of Lake Norman in Denver, NC.  Verdict Ridge is just 20 miles from uptown Charlotte and is considered by many to be one of the best golf courses in the area.  Other amenities in Verdict Ridge include swimming, tennis and clubhouse complete with restaurant.

The wooded, rolling terrain of this community provides the perfect backdrop for our new Somerlyn model.  The Somerlyn is our story and a half plan and even includes and the option for a finished walk out basement.  The Somerlyn is approx.. 4290 sq. ft. without the basement and is base priced with our standard features from the 490s.

This distinctive and inviting home plan includes an open concept kitchen, family room and formal dining room, a spacious first floor master bedroom with a luxurious master bath, separate powder room, a second bedroom with jack/jill bath, a flex room that can be used as 3rd BR/Living Room/Study, a first floor laundry and a separate powder room for guests and a covered porch overlooking the breathtaking Verdict Ridge Golf Course.

On the second level you will find 2 additional bedrooms, a loft/rec room and an additional bath.  There is an option for a 4th bathroom for the 5th bedroom.  The 4th bedroom is large enough to offer the versatility of being used as a media or bonus room.

On the lower level, Bonterra Builders has finished out the basement to showcase a recreation room, additional bedroom and bath, pool and game table area and wet bar all overlooking the optional outdoor living area complete with fireplace and perfect for entertaining.

Manor Homes in Verdict Ridge are sized from 3000 sq. ft. and priced from the mid 350s.

We also offer Patio Home designs for our buyers who are interested in a lifestyle that provides ease of maintenance and more free time to relax and enjoy all of the amenities and recreational opportunities that living Verdict Ridge provides.

 

We invite you to contact our sales office for more information on our award winning homes and to schedule your personal tour of our Somerlyn model.  The number is 704-489-2800.  Be sure and call today, we can’t wait to welcome you to the quiet side of Lake Norman and Verdict Ridge!

 

Verdict Ridge

1308 Verdict Ridge Drive
Denver, North Carolina 28037
Lincoln County

—– ©2014 – AVTmarketing.com – All Rights Reserved. AVT Marketing is Charlotte’s Premier Real Estate Video Virtual Tour and Photography Provider for Realtors, and other businesses looking to add compelling photography and/or video to their website or blog. We also develop and design websites

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