Copyright Infringement and Your Online Content

in Design & Development

copyright infringementEarlier this year we posted a link to an article that stirred up quite a bit of attention. In summary, a band grabbed an image from a photographer’s website, edited it and uploaded to their Facebook page without getting permission from the photographer or giving him credit. To make things worse, photographer confronted the band and the band blasted the photographer online. In the end, the photographer was vindicated with a check and a swift apology ‘cause the law won.

Risky Business
Pulling content off the Internet and using it for your own purposes comes with major risks. This is especially true when you have a blog or website where images sit waiting to be tagged for copyright infringement lawsuits. Several content creators meticulously scour the Internet for violations through software programs or add tracking tags to their content. So it’s not a matter of “if they find you,” it’s more like “when.”

Your Responsibilities As A Website Owner
If you’re building a website through a third-party, it is your responsibility and right to know where your images and content originated from. Reputable web design companies should also provide you with an invoice or contact sheet with details about your images. In regards to the text on your site, be sure not to copy it from somewhere else – online or print. Yes, copyright law covers all forms of media.

Once your website is handed off to you for maintenance and updating, we highly recommend that whoever is updating your content knows enough about copyright and image use to prevent you from being sued. For peace of mind assume any images, logos, videos, text, symbols, and printed materials are copyrighted. If you need content for your website or blog post, here are a few suggestions:

1. Create Your Own ContentThe best approach is to create your own content. Hire a professional photographer, copywriter or purchase your own fancy digital camera. Trust me, the investment you make here is minimal compared being sued for copyright infringement which can run into thousands of dollars.

2. Purchase Stock ContentYou can also purchase affordable, high-quality images or other media from a stock site. Be sure you are purchasing the right license that covers how you will be using the content. Most standard licenses cover online use only. If you are using content for a marketing campaign, you will more than likely need to purchase an extended license. One of the downsides is that your images will not be unique and can be used by anyone else – including your competitors.

In summary, copyright infringement is a costly mistake that can be avoided. The law doesn’t care if you plead ignorance or think you didn’t do anything wrong. A majority of the time the website owner will be held accountable. Don’t set yourself up for a hefty fine. To find out more about copyright infringement or ask questions about your online efforts, fill out our contact form or give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

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Read More about Copyright Infringement:
Ars Technica: ISPs sent 1.3M copyright infringement notices to US customers last year
Bloomberg Businessweek: Since It Can’t Sue Us All, Getty Images Embraces Embedded Photos
United States Copyright Office: Copyright Basics

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The end of SEO? Well that depends.

in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Site Analytics

Is SEO dead?Mashable asks, “Are we coming to the end of SEO?”

And we whole heartedly answer, “Yes.” Yes, that is if you consider SEO a way of gaming Google to get your site ranked near the top of the page. Yes, if you consider stuffing your meta tags with keywords as SEO. Yes, if you think keyword density in your copy can trick your way to number one.

It all comes down to what you believe search engine optimization is all about.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines Optimization as: an act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible.

So we want a website that is fully perfect, functional or effective as possible. Who makes that determination? Who are you are optimizing the website for? Do you create a beautiful website for people to use, navigate easily though and ultimately come away with the product or information they needed. Or, do you create a website for a machine/spider that tricks the search engine into popping your website high up in the rankings, but that users ultimately hate and run away / bounce from after the first click?

At Stanton Street – we’ve never tried to game the search engines. We always considered SEO a part of the website from the ground up, not just the window dressing. We built websites for people, not for search engines. Our brand of SEO starts with:

  • A solid site architecture and structure that follows the World Wide Web Consortium’s international standards
  • Search engine friendly URLs that have words instead of numbers
  • Website copy that is relevant, informative and original
  • Navigation that is intuitive with no duplicate pages
  • Necessary meta tags are short and to the point
  • Search engines are notified of all relevant pages on the site
  • Search engine webmaster tools are monitored for any issues that might arise
  • Old pages are redirected to the most relevant page on the site
  • Measurement of website effectiveness

We don’t do SEO tricks. We do solid websites. Nice that Google seems to have adopted our philosophy into their algorithm!

If you want Net Results for your website, you know where to find us!

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Laser Tech: Rewired and Responsive!

in Announcements, Design & Development, Launches

Laser TechStanton Street recently launched a responsive website for Laser Tech, a locally owned tech company that was started in 1989. The redesign features a fresh new style, animations, and a reorganization that helps easily direct users to the information they need.

Visitors to the site are welcomed with a fun, visually engaging homepage. Laser Tech’s logo bounces into view, and the banner rotates through banners with images and key phrases that immediately convey their three main services: Information Technology, Print Management, and Cabling. The introductory paragraph below the banner is chock-full of descriptive keywords, which is critical to enhancing the site’s Search Engine Optimization and driving new business to their door.

Throughout the site, users are encouraged to get in touch with Laser Tech either by signing up for their newsletter or submitting a contact form. As seen below, the “Contact Us/Emergency Service” button is always visible and can be pulled up on any page at any time. When a user completes the contact form, the information is directly sent to the person responsible for the designated type of inquiry/service. This supports Laser Tech’s focus of quickly and personally responding to leads and existing clients.

Laser-Tech_Homepage

The Contact Us/Emergency Service form is accessible at all times.

Users can easily access information about Laser Tech’s three service departments by either clicking on the boxes below the introduction as one scrolls down or by selecting the “Services” tab on the main navigation bar. Each service provides a general overview, and when selected, detailed information about the sub-services is displayed.

Laser Tech is able to highlight their experience and expertise in the “Projects” section of the website. Maintaining the design from the “Services” section, users can easily transition between Print Management, I.T., and Cabling by clicking on the tabs at the top. The logos of the businesses they have worked with are shown, and by clicking on the logo, one advances to the project detail page to see additional images and detailed information on the project.

For those truly interested in learning all there is to know about Laser Tech, the “About Us” section features Laser Tech’s mission, vision, and core values as well as the organizations they are affiliated with and the awards they have received.

Like all the other sites that we build at Stanton Street, Laser Tech’s site has a fully loaded Content Management System that allows those at Laser Tech to quickly and easily make updates to their site. This helps Laser Tech keep their site fresh, relevant, and adaptable to their business needs.

If you’re interested in a responsive website, fill out our contact form or give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

 

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Internet Gullibility: Don’t Spread the Dumb!

in Social Media, Technology & Trends

053014_Gullibility_Blog

Alexander Gardner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Being in the biz, I’m on social media sites a lot. I mean A LOT. As a result, I see the whole gamut of hoaxes, scams, “like” bait… you name it. The Internet has given tricksters and scam artists the power to reach millions of people though one click. Unfortunately these posts are being shared by too many – which leads me to the main reason for writing this. I’d like to make an appeal for everyone to stop being gullible and spreading this garbage. Just stop.

I understand you’re overjoyed at Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 being “found” or saddened by the latest celeb demise. I know you really want to help that kid with (insert disease here) with all your “likes” or get free money from Microsoft (yes this is still going around). But really, please take two seconds to double check the facts before you spread the dumb. Most of the time, you can simply review the URL and determine if the story is legitimate. Please know that a site with WordPress or GoDaddy in their URL most likely won’t be dispelling factual or official information.

“Like” Farming
“Like” Farms are scams solely built for Facebook. What happens is someone creates a fake page and starts posting bait (things to get you to interact with posts). When you like something on Facebook, it shows up on your friends’ news feeds. The more likes, the more visible the item is on the platform. Once that page administrator has reached thousands, even millions of likes, they begin to sell ad space or put the page up for sale to the highest bidder.

This scam also includes those silly contests supposedly from Southwest Airlines, Disney Cruises or some other corporation. First, companies are not allowed to host contests on the Facebook platform. Second, if a company chooses to violate Facebook policy, their page will be deleted. Third, it’s easy to duplicate a brand on a social site for personal gain – logo and all. And finally, if these contests link off to a separate page they are possibly exposing your computer to malware and THAT, my friends, is a whole technical can of worms. So no, don’t trust or “like” those links either.

Recently Facebook has been cracking down on “Like” Farms and is discouraging users from sharing the same post repeatedly and ask for “likes,” comments or shares. These are typical behaviors of “Like” Farms and I applaud them for attempting to clean it up.

Fake Stories
Nothing irks me more than fake stories spreading false hope or instilling alertist fears. This includes the so-called “Big Hospital Finally telling the truth about cancer, Johns Hopkins” story and the fear-generating radiation from Japan reaching the U.S. There are heartless individuals out there who play on emotions in order to get visits to their blog. The more visits, the more traffic. This means more ads they can sell and more money they can make at the expense of your well-being. Shaking your head yet?

What Do I Do If I Share The Dumb?
Did you share the dumb? Not sure what to do? Plain and simple: apologize. Then vow to look for a credible source next time, not to believe all memes or posts begging for shares and deny all requests for personal information. Remember, when in doubt – check it out! Here are a few resources to help you weed out the baloney:

Google – Simply search for the story title to see what else pops up to see if it’s legit.
Snopes – Cut and paste the title of the article in the search bar and click GO!
Facecrooks.com – Notifies you of scams, schemes and tricks on your favorite social site.
Urban Legends/About.com – Keep up-to-date with this handy list of the latest phony baloneys.

Phew. Glad I got that out. Now I’m off to kick the lid off more Internet fallacies. Wish me luck!

Have more questions about the dumb? Fill out our contact form and we’ll do our best to give you more tips and resources. You can also give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

Read More:
Social media stole my daughter’s identity
How to Not Publish Baloney
The Only Post You Need To Share When You’ve Fallen For A Facebook Hoax
Facebook Like-Farms Scams Are A Thing
Storyful’s Verification Tech Could Stop Fake News From Spreading on Facebook

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Cosmetic Surgeons’ Website Gets An Enhancement

in Announcements, Design & Development, Launches

Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center of El Paso is the premier plastic surgery practice in the Southwest Region. Dr. Mark Jabor and Dr. R. Dale Reynolds had us build them a beautiful website about three years ago, which increased visit to their site each month by 135% as well as online consultation requests by 22%.

Now, with more than half of the traffic to the Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center of El Paso’s website coming from mobile devices and tablets, the doctors wanted a website that worked well and looked even better on smaller screens. Stanton Street looked into the option of a responsive site, but the Doctors were still very pleased with their current site and didn’t want to a responsive redesign. The next best solution was to design an elegant mobile-friendly site showcasing the cosmetic surgical procedures and services offered by Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center of El Paso.

Three views of the Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center Mobile Website

After thorough research in to which pages on the site were most frequently visited by mobile and tablet users, Stanton Street designed the mobile site so that those pages would be one click away from the homepage. Icons at the top of all pages allow quick and easy access to the menu, photo gallery, maps to their Westside and Eastside locations as well as a click to call feature for both locations. Buttons as the bottom of each page give access to procedure categories such as Face, Breast, Body and Skin making it as easy in investigate any cosmetic surgery service the doctors offer.

Does your website need a lift with the addition of a mobile site? Fill out our contact form or give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

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Review Your Website’s Statistics in a Snap

in Announcements, Site Analytics

In an effort to keep our website customers more informed about the performance of their site, Stanton Street has added a new extra benefit to go along with our excellent service, good looks and charm: a Monthly Snapshot Report. The Snapshot, includes key performance metrics for your website. If you are a current Stanton Street website customer, watch for an email on the first of every month that will include your custom report. We hope you use this information to identify new opportunities for your business or organization through your website.

Monthly Snapshot Website Traffic Map

Google Analytics™ service, Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.

Key Metrics you will see on your Monthly Snapshot:

  • Visits: (now called Sessions) a visit or session is a period of time a user is actively involved with your site.
  • Bounce Rate: a percentage of single page visits or sessions
  • Time on Site: the average time a user sends on your site.
  • Average Pages / Visit: the average number of pages a user sees in one visit or session
  • Visits by Region: a map of the United States showing the number of visits or sessions by state
  • Visits and % New Visits by Region: a list of the visits or sessions by state and the % of new visits or sessions from each state
  • Unique Visitors: a list of the number of new and returning users to your website
  • Top Keywords: the keywords typed by users into a search engine that result in the most visits to your website
  • Top Pages: the most visited pages on your site by pageview but also includes the number of exits from that page
  • Top Traffic Sources: the most frequent sources and mediums used to get to your website
  • Top Social Sources: the most frequent social media sources used to get to your website

E-commerce sites will also include:

  • Top Traffic Sources with Revenue by Source: the most frequent sources and mediums that drive your e-commerce site revenue

If you would like to discuss your Monthly Snapshot report or learn more about your website’s analytics, feel free to give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

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Intrade Consultants Imports A New, Responsive Website!

in Announcements, Design & Development

Intrade Responsive Website

Intrade Consultants is a customs house brokerage facilitating imports and exports, warehousing, cross-border logistics and much more. They needed a site that would be easy to navigate and accessible on the go. We developed a responsive site with a clean design and simple navigation with a responsive backbone for viewing on desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones.

The site opens up with great imagery highlighting their facility and clickable text for easy access to additional information about their services. Clients also have a quick jump off point to access their password-protected inventory report.

Small clickable icons on the bottom of the page deliver a brief description for each service Intrade provides. One click and the user can venture deeper into service details for each category. A small intro and news populate the bottom of the page giving users a quick peek into the company’s background and media coverage.

The About Us section highlights the company’s experience, company history, qualifications & certifications and affiliated companies. To get more details about what Intrade can do for you, visit the Our Services section of the site. Here, you’ll find an overview of each service along with a contact form to quickly submit questions pertaining to that service. For media coverage on Intrade and other related topics, click over to the Latest News section to view stories.

Customer Registration Forms, NAFTA Certificates and Power of Attorney documents can be found in the Resources portion of the site where you can begin the process of becoming a client of Intrade. Simply fill out the documentation then call the number in the footer or Contact Us page to set up an appointment.

Thinking of importing your own sparkly new website? Fill out our contact form or give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

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The Heartbleed Bug and Your Stanton Street Website

in Announcements, Design & Development

Heartbleed Bug

The Heartbleed Bug has consumed most of our newsfeeds in the past few weeks. If you have a website with Stanton Street, rest assured that your Stanton Street hosted website is NOT affected. Our websites do not utilize Open SSL so we were not vulnerable to this security hole. Your usernames and passwords for email, content management systems and our HelpDesk are all secure.

However, please be aware that if your website utilizes third-party hosted services integrated into your site, those may be affected. Since we have several sites to review, we will need your assistance to confirm that your third-party provider has not been affected. This will help expedite the process.

If your third-party provider has Open SSL, they will need to install a new SSL certificate and instruct all users to change their passwords.

Another important thing to mention is if you manage your own social media such as Facebook or Twitter, you will more than likely need to change your personal password. This also applies to anyone who has admin rights to your company’s profile.

For the latest lists of sites that are affected, visit:

The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now

Heartbleed Bug: Check which sites have been patched

To check if your site is affected, you can type your URL into an automatic checker:

McAfee Heartbleed Checker (all sites)

LastPass Heartbleed Checker (secure https websites)

Your peace of mind is important to us. If you have any questions or concerns regarding Heartbleed, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

 

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Featured Service: Responsive Design & Development

in Design & Development, Technology & Trends

Simply put, responsive design is a technique used to make a website look great on any size of screen. This means that users on a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet would be able to view and experience the website in almost the same way. Since a majority of the population consumes online content via various screen sizes, it only makes sense to continue a seamless user experience in every iteration of a website.

Responsive-Design

By Muhammad Rafizeldi (MRafizeldi) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

How Does It Work?

In order for responsive design to work correctly, the site must be broken down in a grid format. Grids help designers visualize how the site will look in various dimensions. These grid foundations also provide the structure for code, telling the site where stopping points are and what size of image or what content formatting to display,

Why Responsive?

Not only does a responsive site give your users a seamless transition from screen to screen, it also saves you money. The standard practice for web developers was to build a full site then a mobile-friendly version. This used to take longer to develop, not to mention the two separate sets of data updates for full and mobile. Now, the industry has embraced the responsive approach. Even Google has stated responsive web design is the best industry practice for search engine optimization, giving the search engine one index to crawl instead of duplicates.

Benefits of Responsive

  • User Experience – A responsive site will automatically resize to fit most screens. This means users won’t get frustrated when their experience with your site won’t change when they view it on a different device.
  • Reach New Audiences – Increase your reach by serving up content that smartphone and tablet users can easily view and interact with.
  • Return on Investment – Businesses save money when only one site would need to be build instead of multiple ones to fit each device.
  • Save Time – Instead of building or managing multiple versions of a site, there would only be one to worry about.
  • Search Engine Optimization – SEO is improved as there is only one instance of a website instead of multiple versions.

Need a “responsive revamp” of your website? Call us know or fill out our contact form to find out more about what Stanton Street can do for you!

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User Experience Required!

in Design & Development

User ExperienceSince we’re on the topic of responsive web design this month, let’s talk a little more about the concept of “user experience” and what that actually means when it pertains to your online presence. I’m sure you’ve been in a position, like I have, where a website just isn’t doing it for you. Either it’s hard to get to where you want to go, things are broken or it simply takes forever to load. Regardless of the situation, you vowed to never visit that site again. I know it sounds harsh, but that’s the reality of the situation.

As web developers, our goal is to build sites that are engaging that make your customers, associates and peers want to visit again and again. This requires a careful balance of design and technology. There are several components and stages involved in developing a successful user experience, so I’ll try to capture it all in a digestible one-pager.

Know Your Audience

You probably hear this all the time when marketing your product, but do you hear it enough from your web developer? If not, I’ll say it again: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Finding out who is seeking out your services or products and identifying what they like, don’t like and how they use technology could make a huge difference in the site build. You can have all the fancy animations, crazy functionality and images that you like; but if your users don’t care to interact with your site then there’s no point.

Develop an Outline

Once the audience is identified and documented, then a plan should be put into place. We do this through wireframes or sitemaps. For basic sites, we use sitemaps that show the way the site will flow and where pages will lie within the design. If the site is more complex, like an e-commerce site, we develop wireframes. Wireframes identify interaction points and general layout of generic items on the website.

 Design with Purpose

There’s a whole slew of rules and standards that come with designing a website that will determine most of the aesthetics such as layout, font and color selections. The rest of the design is determined by the branding of the company, the audience and the site’s purpose.

In summary, each element of the site must complement another creating a fluid, solid experience. If your current web designer or applications developer never brings up the idea of user experience, our advice is to run far, far away from them. Then call us. ;)

Need to improve your website’s user experience or not sure what you need to make it better? Fill out our contact form and we’ll get you started on a user-friendly website. You can also give us a call at (915) 351-8440 to find out more.

Read more about user experience:

UX Magazine – Is UX Your Achilles?

Bad UI/UX Design

4 Ways Bad UX is Hurting your SEO

Killed at Launch: A complete disregard for user experience leads to drastic action

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