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Put Your Catalog Online

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10 Advantages Of The Online Catalog Tool

Every day businesses are expanding, and in a constantly changing world it is important to stay current. This is the first of a three-series articles where we will address e-Commerce solutions for existing businesses.

A custom designed website, that displays your online catalog can improve the way you run your business. You will save time, while allowing your customers to visualize in detail the products you offer. Frequently, we are asked a simple question: How can a wholesale company quickly setup their catalog online?

Catalogs are tools that showcase in detail a business’ products.

These instruments have become a powerful marketing and promotion vehicle to sell goods in many industries. The development of new technologies has changed the way buyers and sellers interact in the business world. These are the key advantages of having an online catalog.

1. Product Info, Display, & Visualization

Clients want to know every detail of the product you are offering them; they want to know the material specifications, dimension and weight. This is an effective way to showcase your inventory, and describe in detail every product. You may add technical schedules, installation instructions, or special characteristics of the items.

The appropriate display of your products creates a visual impact that is greatly enhanced with the online catalog tool. By zooming in/out pictures, your clients increase the ability of understanding the details within the item in which they’re interested.

A virtual catalog allows you to enrich the visualization of an item by adding pictures from different angles, videos, special effects or animations that positively impact and grasp the attention of your clients.

2. Interactivity

Your clients will have the ability to have a more efficient access to the products of their choice; allowing them to browse through similar options. A useful feature is to display on a ribbon at the end of the page titled “Similar products” – this enables your clients to click on to other items in your catalog. 

3. Brand Positioning, Product Access, & Diffusion of Information

Catalogs are a graphic representation of companies’ goods or services; therefore, it reinforces the image clients have of the organization and its products.

Globalization has changed the way we interact and find information. Having an online catalog gives constant access on a 24-hour basis to people around the world, independently of their time zone. This benefit has erased all boundaries of communication.

By distributing a catalog through a universal and boundless vehicle such as the internet, businesses generate brand presence and product diffusion on the market.

4. Market Research

Online catalogs allow businesses to understand better its clients’ consuming habits by identifying which products are requested and sold the most/least. It also gives faster access to statistics that makes market analysis easier to understand. Finally, it will help companies develop the appropriate strategies for decision making.

5. Client Capture Instrument

When a company displays its catalog online, it increases the possibility of appearing on the search engine of potential customers that type in keywords. Generating all of this content will be very useful when you decide to create online advertisement and promotions.

6. Product Search Options, Organization, & Time Saving Tool

The purpose of browsing is to guide users and assist them by quickly presenting items through different options. Organizing, classifying, and effectively prioritizing search options, enables users to accurately find what they’re looking. This feature saves time to your customers and your business; because if you are not an e-Commerce business, your clients may promptly address a question or make an order with all the product specs on hand.

7. Quick Product Update

Any product changes can be uploaded to the system instantly and depending on how tailored is your catalog, you will be able to notify clients of these updates.

8. Cost-reduction Benefit

Following on the previous “product update” feature; imagine if you had to re-print your catalog once a product is no longer on stock or if it changed any specs. It would be costly and inefficient.

9. Product Availability

Knowing what product are available at all times represent a financial and customer service asset for your company. You’ll be able to link your catalog to an existing database and provide automatic updates to you customers by:

  • informing when a product is out of stock –to avoid backorders
  • notifying when an item is back on stock

10. Customization

Depending on the data your organization provides its users, you may use an online catalog as these three clients have chosen to display their information:

Informative: Karela Kids with the options of “Product Description” and “Additional Information” tabs. These classifications allow you to understand the product’s material, embroidery detail, color and size.

Interactive: Michelson’s Trophies offers the “Description”, “Additional Information”, product “Reviews”, and “Product Enquiry” tabs. The ‘review’ option is a proof to your customers that other people have bought this item and it provides an honest feedback of your product or service.

Sales Tool: Tecnosinergia uses its catalog as an informative, interactive and communication sales tool where its customers can chat directly with a brand ambassador to ask questions about anything displayed on their website. The salesforce uses the website as its main instrument to provide information to its prospects and clients.

At Simple Solutions, we have successfully assisted clients from many different industries, and they have reported a notorious improvement in the optimization of their websites and businesses.

Karela Kids

Michelson's Trophies

Tecnosinergia

What Are Web Developers?

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A web developer is someone who specializes in writing application code for the World Wide Web.

The profile of such individual might be of your interest if you need to set up a web page for your business.

There are three important questions to ask when selecting a company to create your website or web application:

1.    How many years have they been in the industry?
2.    Do you have a developer on staff or do you outsource?
3.    Do I legally own the design and content of the website you’ll build for my company?

It is very important to discuss the experience of the company, and if the developer that will be working with you has previously built similar websites. This will help you understand the scope of your project, and how the selected company will assist you with the support you need.

A company that has an in-house development team might be crucial when signing a contract with someone to develop your website. Sometimes it is very difficult to transmit your ideas through e-mails or phone calls. So, it’s always a good idea to consider a company that has a staff with whom you can talk about your ideas and project goals.

Many companies may build your website; however, as soon as your hosting contract ends so does your website. Yikes! Firstly, it is very important to know if you’ll have a signed contract that states your legal ownership of the product (your website). Second, and most importantly, you must be clear if all the time, money, and work you’ve dedicated to your website can be transferred to a different hosting server.

Remember; when it comes to business you’ll never ask too many questions. Just make sure you’re asking the right ones!

Daniel Macadar
CEO & CTO, Simple Solutions

Simple Solutions – Our Business

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Simple Solutions as a business started from being a small website development shop and grew to become a fully grown development agency providing technology services for companies throughout the country. We bring value to the community by providing skilled services that are usually sub-contracted to offshore companies, in-house to an office in the heart of Miami, FL. Clients in general have direct communication with every developer on the project. LinkedIn ProFinder will impact us positively as our reach will grow to new sections within the area.

Shared vs. Dedicated Servers

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When you launch your website or you want to upgrade your website, you’ll often be presented with the issue of deciding whether a dedicated,shared, or cloud server is better for you. Server types differ in many aspects, and  for some one may be more appropriate than the other one so it is important to understand the differences before making a decision. Simple Solutions offers hosting in any modality and we would like to explain to you a little more about them so you have some idea whenever you decide to launch your website.

Dedicated Hosting Shared Hosting Cloud Server
Sites Hosted on the Server Your website in the only site hosted in the server Other sites that are hosted on the server along with your website Only your site and projects hosted on the server.
Disk Space Space dedicated to you so there is no sharing with other users. The storage is limited by the amount purchased when the server is built.   Upgrading your storage requires a new server build. Hosting companies generally advertise “Unlimited Hosting” in the shared servers. In reality, the storage space is limited by the hosting company. Storage cannot be upgraded unless you hosting plan is changed. Cloud storage is limited to the amount purchased when the server is built. Upgrading the storage does not require a new server build. Virtual storage can be upgraded at the configuration level.
Costs Costs are generally higher involving a setup fee and lengthy contracts. Resources shared among several users making it cheaper Cloud servers can be charged in several ways. Some company charge a flat monthly fee for the size of the cloud server chosen. Other companies give you  the ability to turn a server off when not in use, charging you hourly while the server is on. Costs depend on configuration and modules added.
Required Skills Webmaster skills required to set up, administer and manage server. Fully managed hosts are available with higher costs Little skills required. Technical skills are provided by the shared hosting provider A Cloud server gives the user as much access and configuration ability as a dedicated solution. You can choose from managed solutions to completely unmanaged clouds.
Security It’s your own responsibility and you are the only one in control and it’s less likely that you acquire viruses because you are the only one in the server Hosting company installs firewalls and server security applications. The client is responsible for securing the server. Anything that happens on your server is entirely your responsibility to fix
Blacklisting of Website Less likely unless you engage in unethical internet practices or your sites are hacked More likely to get blacklisted by search engines. Any user on the server can be hacked or affected. If a user on your server is blacklisted, it is likely that the same will happen to your site. Less likely unless you engage in unethical internet practices or your sites are hacked
Server Performance The server works using the resources that are allocated to it at the time of the build. RAM, Disk Type, Processor, among others have an impact of how your site and server performs. The network access to your server will not affect performance as only your visitors are accessing the server. You never know who else is a user on your server. A user might be driving driving too much traffic slowing your sites down. The performance is ultimately managed by the hosting company. The server works using the resources that are allocated to it at the time of the build. RAM, Disk Type, Processor, among others have an impact of how your site and server performs. Cloud server do not require a new build to increase their resources. Since virtual resources are allocated it is simple to upgrade. The cost will increase as you increase resources, however performance will be better. Being virtual, there are few other clients on the same server, however not enough to impact your performance.
Level of Control Total control over the server Less control as it’s a shared service Total control over the server and resources.

In general, choosing a hosting provider is a very important business decision for a business that seeks a presence online. A corporate site with only content might have enough working through a shared host where an online store with millions of monthly visits might require to expand its resources on demand. At Simple Solutions we assess your needs and recommend the best hosting solution possible.

Using CDN to Deliver Static Content

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Quite often, performance tests tell us that we should use a CDN to deliver the static content on our site. In reality,   most  people do not understand the true definition and the benefits of a CDN.  In this article we will explain the definition of a CDN and  try to help you understand if it is something that your site might need.  

CDN is short for Content Delivery Network and it essentially is a network of geographically dispersed servers. Each CDN node caches the static content of a site like the images. The way it works is when a user requests your site, the node closest to the user will deliver the static content so the data travels the shortest distance and provides a faster site experience. The majority of the end-user page load time is spent on getting this content,providing as many server nodes as possible throughout the world provides a better user experience.

While CDNs are a great solution for most websites looking to increase performance, they are not necessary to run a website. Furthermore, utilizing a CDN will increase your hosting costs, so it is important to assess the need accurately.

The number one reason for using a CDN is to improve your user’s’ experience in terms of speed because for the user speed matters! In an eCommerce scenario, it is proven that a faster site will decrease your bounce rate, ultimately getting you on a more converting path . So, if your users need a faster site, a global CDN would allow your users everywhere in the world to download static content thanks to a close node. Not only that but CDN also helps to prevent site crashed by distributing bandwidth across multiple servers instead of having one server handle all traffic.
Now that you know what CDN is, evaluate your costs and try to implement it because there is nothing better than giving your users the best user experience. Simple Solutions provides custom CDN solutions to help you with your site. Contact us to learn more at info@simplesolutionsfs.com

Creating a website from scratch

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There is an increasing interest in web development lately, and we know you are curious about it. Taking advantage of this interest, this week we are giving you some pointers on building a website.

The first thing you need to do when creating a website from scratch is getting a domain name. In order to do that you need to pay an annual fee for the right to use that name.

Also, getting a web host, which is basically a service that provides space on the internet for your site’s files. After you have your domain and your hosting plan, we move to the difficult part, building the website.

Before you start going crazy about how you can build your website without using WordPress or without looking at free website services take a deep breath because it’s not as hard as it seems, at least the basic stuff.

Let’s begin by deciding what language  we are going to use to build our website. You are probably asking yourself, language? Yes, language! There are different options but for beginners we recommend to start with the basics,  HTML and CSS.

Let’s go ahead and create a basic HTML page.

The first thing you need is to dedicate a folder on your computer to the project. This folder will hold all files we create. Our page in this case will have two files. Once showing the page data and the other defining the styles.

Let’s write some HTML… We would need to  use either Notepad or TextEdit (Mac). Open either one of those and insert the following code to get started.

 

<html>

<head>Search Engine Title Goes Here<title>

</title>

</head>

<body>

<p>

This is the body of your website.

</p>

</body>

</html>

Now make sure you Save As inside the folder we created for the project. Click  on All Files and save it with an .HTML extension so it looks like index.html which is going to be your homepage. So that’s great we are one step closer to building something from scratch!

Let’s continue… open the file with any web browser and you should see a clean white page which is your homepage. It’s done! Believe it or not that’s all you need to build a website, of course it will look plain and boring but you get the idea right?

Now to make your website a little more interesting and colorful, let’s use CSS.

What CSS does is make sure you use consistent styles throughout your website and it helps updating fonts, colors,etc. in every page at once. Now that you more or less understand what CSS does let’s continue coding. Open another text file and name it style.css and remember to always save.

 

Now add a line before the </head> in your HTML page and add the following:

<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”style.css”>

So your code will look similar to  this:

 

<html>

<head>

<title>Search Engine Title Goes Here</title>

<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”style.css”>

</head>

<body>

<p>

This is the body of your website.

</p>

</body>

</html>

This tells the browser to look for the stylesheet when loading the website and therefore applies the styles defined on that sheet accordingly..

There you go, you now have a simple website. Just add text to the body and keep testing it in order to understand how HTML works.

When you have finished created pages and customizing styles, and you are ready to upload the site and put it live, you will need to access your hosting account. We will explain this in our next article.
There are great resources to get your interest in HTML.  Site like CodeAcademy or Lynda are of great help to get started. Take advantage of these, coding is always a great resource that can save you time and money!

HTML 3 vs. HTMLS 5

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More and more people are learning to use HTML now, and while the previous versions offered great resources to web masters, they were asking for new and improved abilities and tags. in order to enhance the looks of their sites. HTML documents are Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) documents with generic semantics appropriate for representing information from a wide range of applications.

For this post we want you to understand the differences in HTML3 and HTML5 and understand the meaning of each of them and how they improve your website.

HTML3.0 builds up on HTML2.0. It’s new abilities promised to be more powerful for web designers so they can have the ability to further enhance their websites. HTML3.0 is a RISC OS only macro inserter for creating web pages and instead of giving you full editing facilities, it allows you to use text editor and types all the commands you need into the keyboard for you.

HTML3 can help you do different things for your website; you can create headers, including all the meta tags you’ll need to get it seen on search engines, a graphical document color picker so you can see how the colors work together, footers, text effects with 16 color palette editor, links with JavaScript rollover and description functions and many other stuff.

The way HTML3 was created was to allow to be used in a variety of ways. It is simple enough to type it by hand, authored using WYSIWYG editors for HTML or it can be generated via export filters.

On the other hand, HTML5 strives to be something very different. It aims to be more of an application development platform which not only includes laying out text and images, but it also includes playing video and audio, interactive 2D and 3D graphics, storing data in the application, dealing with online and offline access to data and real-time networking protocols. The aim of this latest version is to improve the language support of latest multimedia while keeping it user friendly, easily readable and understood by computers. These new features allow for developers to write more sophisticated and descriptive client-side code. If you want to understand a little bit more about HTML5 you can take a look at Booklock, an app developed by us using HTML5 compiled for iOS.

It is perfectly acceptable to keep using HTML3 even though a new and improved version already exists. The problem is that the sophisticated code used in HTML5 becomes the standard one so eventually previous versions become outdated for new versions of browsers, new computers, smartphones…etc.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 1.22.59 PM

5 ways to learn how to code for free!

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Learning how to code can be one of the most powerful tools in your life. It’s not for nerds anymore, getting a little code under your belt is an incredible valuable skill for anyone. If you are a designer, learning to code can help you understand what you are creating for, and if you are building a startup, knowing how to code can make things easier.

You might be asking yourself if you really need to learn something about this area and the answer is yes! By knowing something about coding you can use HTML when dealing with content management. It also helps you ease the communication with your company’s developer and better understand what is the problem. Also, you can optimize and test landing pages and it creates huge opportunities to be creative and unique.

It doesn’t matter why you want to learn, the only thing you need is motivation. If you’re really lost on the topic and don’t even know where to start keep reading because we are sharing with you 5 ways to start coding for free!

  1. Coursera: the king of online education offers free classes from so many universities across the country including coding classes for those that want to learn. (FYI, this is our personal favorite)
  2. Code Academy: it’s a well-known first step for those who are looking to start their coding education. You can choose from several courses for different programming languages.
  3. Khan Academy: one of the original free coding resources with easy to follow and step by step video tutorials to help you started with your coding career.
  4. HTML5 Rocks: it’s a Google project that focuses on HTML5. The language tends to be a higher level, so it’s probably suited for those with some experience but it’s always good to try new things!
  5. Google University Consortium: free courses from the king of the internet, why not? Take advantage of the beginner course on mobile and web development and programming languages.

Software is all around us nowadays and it’s hard to find something that doesn’t run on code from a phone or a computer. So even if you don’t want to pursue a career on computer science, learning a little coding has important value and there is nothing that can stop you with all of these online resources.

The world of programming is more accessible than ever before with tons of tutorials and free platforms. Give it a try, it will make your life easier!

CES 2016

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We know CES has been over for a couple of week now but it’s never too late for a recap of one of the best technology events in the world! There are a couple of awesome things we will talk about that came across during CES 2016.

This year was full of highly conceptual innovative products as well as others that we knew just a little about because they were launched months before. Somewhere in between those were products that just don’t fit our budget or have indeterminable launching dates!

Here, at Simple Solutions, we love smart home technology and we like staying up to date with it, why would you stand up to swtich on the lights, when you can do it from your smartphone?

At CES this year, we saw a lot of smart home technology, let’s take a look at our favorite CES 2016 products:

  • The family hub refrigerator: it features a 21 inch display on the door to tell you everything that’s going on inside, literally everything. With your Samsung mobile you can check what’s inside your fridge, that way if you are grocery shopping you don’t have to carry a list! Not only that, but the fridge will tell you when the food is about to go bad and the TV on the outside can be used for all kinds of stuff.
  • Fibaro Swipe: it’s not a simple picture frame, it has sensors that can turn gestures into home-control actions, so by waving your hand over the panel you can control your lights, your shades, turn a faucet on/off or perform any function that can be managed by a Z-Wave controller. That means that if your are cooking, there is no need to wash your hands if you need to turn on the lights!
  • Sensorwake alarm clock: the best way to wake up without a buzzer. This great alarm clock emits concentrated smells that are designed to gently wake you up. There are various odors you can choose from. Can you imagine waking up to the smell of chocolate?
  • Cassia Hub: this is a bluetooth router that extends the standard range by up to 1,000 feet and connect as many as 22 Bluetooth- enabled devices. With the companion app you can control all of those devices from anywhere in the world!
  • Owlet: a startup, in fact one of the best startups at CES 2016. It  cares more about saving lives than saving time. The Owlet Smart Sock is a cute washable baby sock with a pulse oximeter that monitors your baby’s heart rate and blood-oxygen. In the event that something happens, the sock transmits a warning to the smartphone so parents can intervene as quickly as possible.

What we saw at CES is what the future is all about. Technology makes everything better and easier in many areas that we could have never imagined and our homes are falling into tech advances that we might as well take advantage of.

 

Best Tech Products of 2015

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At the end of 2014 we were satisfied with the new products but we hoped to see plenty more revolutionary technology in the upcoming 2015.

Tech companies stepped up in 2015, where we started to see more innovation and new products with smartwatches being released into the market, OLED TV, fitness trackers and the first attempt at virtual reality – that being said, let’s take a look at the best and most promising tech products of 2015:

  1. Amazon Echo: another common bluetooth speaker but many Amazon Prime members went crazy about it. The best thing about this product is that it will do what you say, literally. Through voice commands, you can change the volume, skip a track and even check the weather just by asking. It also helps automate your home by controlling your lightbulbs via voice. It definitely makes your life easier!
  2. iPhone 6 and 6S Plus: a much faster and a huge improvement from iPhone 5. The screen, the camera, the quality everything seemed much more improved than the previous phones and everyone wanted one.
  3. Apple Music: with an incredible range of music and excellent radio stations, apple music has a great service and offers an simple experience where you can add a new album to your phone with not much effort
  4. Apple Watch: a nicely designed accessory to the iPhone that makes it easier to see your phone notifications without pulling out your phone. Its built-in fitness tools have definitely helped at least one – typically lazy – person stand up and move around. Many iOS software developers are adapting their apps for the Apple Watch which makes us believe that there will be more versions of it.
  5. Samsung S6: definitely the most attractive phone that Samsung has ever produced and hands down the best smartphone in the market right now. It has the most accurate camera of any product around, it’s speedy and has an awesome display and packs both a built in fingerprint reader and mobile payment system.

With that being said, what do you think about our top 5 tech products of 2015? We are hoping to see life changing devices for 2016 with innovation in smart home devices that will make our lives easier and great new virtual reality products.

Who knows, maybe flying cars are next?