Monday, April 22, 2019

Losing Money: 5 Ways Your Outdated Website is Affecting Your Bottom Line


In the modern tech world, a company’s website is essentially their storefront, creating the first impression for thousands of potential customers. It only takes 50 milliseconds for a site visitor to form an impression that determines whether or not they’ll dive deeper -- or become just another percentage on your bounce rate.


On average, a website redesign is recommended every three years. In just three years, the differences in style and design are instantly discernable--newer websites look fresh, and dated websites show their age. However, modern designs and bouncing site traffic aren’t the only concerns of an outdated website; in fact, that just scratches the surface.


Just like with a new car or new smartphone, entropy takes its toll. Little by little, links begin to break, security measures grow outdated, page load times grow longer, templates become outdated, SEO rules change, and new technology like voice search becomes standard. Within a few years, your company website’s fresh new code and modern features are no longer impressing Google’s algorithm.


With all of these potential issues, there are still only three main reasons an outdated website causes impacts a company’s bottom line:


  1. Your website can’t be found on Google, due to outdated optimization
  2. Your website is repelling visitors, due to outdated design or poor user experience (UX)
  3. Your website lacks modern integration, causing less efficiency for employees


By assessing your company website for each of these issues, you can determine whether or not it’s time to invest in an upgraded website.


1. Page Load Times


Slow load times can negatively impact both your website’s findability and its bounce rate. According to current data, nearly 50% of users expect a load time of 2 seconds or less--and roughly 40% of users will leave the site immediately. Worse yet, Google recently announced that slow load times will impact search ranking as part of their new algorithm.


If your company’s website was built prior to three years ago, it’s likely that the templates and design popular during that time period wasn’t built to be as speedy as modern websites. Google has built a tool for testing load times. If your page speed load times are more than 2 seconds, it’s definitely time for a website upgrade!


2. Broken Links



Links are the lifeblood of a website. Internal links help your guide visitors through a desired “customer’s journey” towards the ultimate goal of a conversion. External links help boost your website’s SEO-juice by showing Google your content is well-sourced and connected with industry leaders. Finally, backlinks from other websites show Google that your content is high quality, which boosts your ranking for key search terms.


With links being this important -- how much damage do you think a broken link does?


Broken links lower your ranking on Google, impacting the searchability of your company. If a Google bot crawling your page runs into a dead link, it may prevent it from properly indexing your website, leading to decreased SEO value.


Broken links can also cause broken trust -- imagine if a visitor reading your latest blog entry clicks an enticing link to learn more about your services, only to discover it goes nowhere. You’ve just lost a potential conversion.


While broken internal links can be fixed using a 301 redirect, valuable backlinks can be lost forever. Over time, the degradation of links is best fixed by creating a fresh, clean new website.


3. Lacking Voice Search Capabilities



As web technology advances, old methodologies begin losing traction. With the advent of voice assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant, it is projected that over 50% of all searches will be voice search within the next year.


Similar to how responsive, mobile-friendly websites became a mandatory upgrade for companies wanting to survive in the world of smartphones, voice search functionality will soon become critical for modern business websites. Losing over 50% of search traffic is a large blow to anyone’s bottom line.


If your company’s website isn’t set up with voice search functionality, that’s a good sign it’s time for an upgrade.


4. Limited Reach and Integration



Old technology limits a business’ ability to reach and engage with their target audience. Some newer functionality is expected by visitors, such as:


  • Voice search
  • Client login to view online profile and history
  • Online quotes
  • Databases for reports
  • Easy newsletter sign-up
  • Quick checkout process
  • Auto-fill form functionality
  • Chatbots and AI
  • Click-to-call business number


If a company website lacks these modern conveniences, it can leave a poor impression at best. At worst, it may lead to potential clients leaving the website in frustration. For example, it may seem simple, but if a visitor is browsing on their smartphone and finds your company number isn’t click-to-call, it forces them to have to find somewhere to write the number before dialing. This seemingly small inconvenience can significantly lower conversions.


Limited integration doesn’t just hurt sales--it also impacts productivity on the business-end.  Many new websites can integrate with modern software and automation services like Salesforce, HubSpot, MailChimp, and dozens more depending on the industry. This allows employees to easily save and access customer data, quickly set up automated A/B testing campaigns, and have overall more efficiency.


Some website designs save time and money on the company-side, just as much as they impact lead generation. Our team has set up website integrations that save hours of work and frustration for employees, leading to a healthier bottom line and happier staff.


5. Giving Permanent Clients to Competitors



No one would intentionally give a client to the competition. But if slow load times, outdated design elements, or missing functionality causes a visitor to bounce off a company’s page, where do you think they will go next?


Odds are they are going back to their Google search results to look at the next website on the list -- the competition.


If the competition’s website has a sleek new design, quick load times, and modern functionality, that immediate comparison will likely make the potential customer never give the first business a second look. Ever again.


Business A just lost more than a one-time deal. They likely just gave a lifelong customer to Business B.


Take a look at your competitor’s websites, and determine whether or not your company has the edge.
How can you tell your business website is outdated?


There are a few red flags that can let you know it’s time to update your company website.


  • Slow load times.
  • Large amounts of text.
  • Inconsistent fonts and colors
  • Distracting, gaudy backgrounds or animations
  • Outdated company information
  • Long forms
  • Broken links
  • Links to old and outdated news
  • Not optimized for mobile
  • Overuse of obvious stock photos
  • Excessive keyword stuffing
  • Broken images
  • Small, hard-to-find call-to-action
  • Phone number that isn’t click-to-call
  • Complicated back end that doesn’t save data; inefficient for employees
  • Lack of social buttons


Likewise, here are a few things to look for in a newly upgraded website.


  • Quick load times, less than 2 seconds
  • Large, easy-to-read fonts
  • Consistent brand colors throughout website
  • Small blocks of simple text, with heavier use of graphics
  • Clean, simple backgrounds and colors
  • Minimalist or Flat design
  • Updated company information
  • Links to modern articles from recent years
  • Optimized for mobile
  • Optimized for voice search
  • Customer-oriented content strategy, rather than keyword stuffing
  • A bold, easy-to-see call-to-action
  • Short forms, using auto-fill if possible
  • Login information stored, with customer profiles
  • Phone number is click-to-call
  • Automated newsletter sign-up for easily automated marketing
  • Easy-to-use back end that saves time for employees
  • Social buttons and focus on social media


Take Your Company’s Website to the Next Level


If your company’s website is ready for an upgrade, the web and mobile app developers at Innuy are ready to help enhance your online presence. Whether your team is developing a mobile application, progressive web app, AI, data science, or IoT, our developers can help your company create a dynamic, unique, integrated project.


With expertise in Python, Django, and Javascript, our team specializes in providing affordable web development from Latin America--often costing 30-50% less than developers in the US.
Innuy’s developers can serve as your primary development team or as a supplement to your current team. Call us at +1 252 723 5982 or contact us to learn more today!



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

9 Reasons to Choose Python for Your Next Development Project


Choosing the best programming language for your company’s next web development project can be a daunting task. There are many factors to weigh when considering which programming language will be the best fit. Often, choosing a coding language involves trade-offs--some languages will offer more versatility, but also lead to a longer, most costly project. Python’s ease of syntax, for example, allows for quicker development. This increased productivity typically allows for less work hours, which leads to a less expensive overall project.

Another consideration -- some coding languages don’t have a long lifespan. So if you’re creating a website or mobile app that needs to remain fresh and modern for many years, you need to forecast which coding language that ages well. For example, in the early 2000’s, PHP and Ruby on Rails seemed like an exciting trend; however, very few developers use these languages in 2019.

The best way to balance of benefits versus detriments is to take a close look at the unique needs of your specific project and decide which language fits best. While non-technical project managers may be more likely to rely on their developer’s expertise, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the benefits and detriments of specific programming languages. Likewise, more tech-savvy project managers will benefit from a more in-depth look at the features, versatility, and cost-savings of a Python development project.  

Criteria to Consider when Choosing a Development Language

With all of the trade-offs involved between coding languages, it’s important to have some basic criteria to consider when determining which language fits your specific project.

Here are some criteria to carefully weigh:

  • Longevity of the language

  • Overall cost of development projects using the language

  • Time commitment involved in each language

  • Efficiency of the language

  • Accessible platforms and frameworks

  • Difficulty of the programming language

  • Community support

  • Versatility of the code (especially if you have a more complex project)

For the purposes of this article, let’s take a look at the Python programming language, measuring it against each of these criteria and exploring the benefits of the code.

1. Python is Rising in Popularity
 
Python is rapidly rising in popularity. As the number one programming language of 2017, and data from Stack Overflow forecasts Python outgrowing all over programming languages--including C, Java, and C++.

2.  Social Media Platforms use Python

Internet giants like Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube utilize Python as their development language. Each of these social media platforms need an immense amount of coding versatility to create entirely unique and dynamic websites. Also, because these popular social media websites use Python, it increases the likelihood that Python’s customer support, accessibility, and efficiency will last for a long time.


3. Python has Optimal Integration


Because Google has listed Python as their first and foremost choice, most of Google’s tools are developed with Python frameworks in mind. This makes Python a safe bet for integration into Google’s cloud services and Google Apps--making it a perfect fit for Google partners. This integration with Google also ensures the longevity of the Python language.


4. Python has Extensive Community Support


Python has a wide community of passionate fans and developers who enjoy discussing the language, troubleshooting issues, and sharing their latest code. These coders run everything from a message board community to actual conferences and local events for Python enthusiasts.


Many open source communities are devoted to Python, with thousands of programmers across the world working together to improve Python’s core functionality and add features. There’s even a Python Wiki, where people can search for specific topics--or even write a topic and share their knowledge! Should your team ever need support or assistance on a Python project, it’ll be easy to find answers online.

5. Python’s Features Enhance Productivity and Speed

Python offers several capabilities that allow for quicker, easier coding and enhanced productivity, such as:


  • Process control capabilities

  • Strong integration with other tools and software

  • Internal unit testing framework

  • Object-oriented design

  • Text processing
These features not only make Python easier for developers, but also easier for end-users, since your team will be able to easily integrate a Python website or mobile app into the automation software you’re already using.


6. Python is Free -- It’s a Core Value!


One of Python’s core values is to remain open source and free. Therefore, the entire set of supporting tools, libraries, and modules are totally free. Integrated development environments like Pydev with Eclipse and Spider Python can be downloaded for free.


The open source mentality and “we’re in this together” community environment leads to expanded development resources and code being made available--for free--as time goes on.

7.Third Party Modules and User-friendly Data Structures  

As we’ve already seen, Python supports open source code-share, and easily integrates with third-party software. Along these same lines, the Python Package Index (PyPl) contains third-party modules that maintain Python’s proficiency in interaction with other languages and platforms.


PyPI – Python package index contains third-party modules that makes Python proficient in the interaction of other languages as well as platforms.


8. Speed-Coding Through User-Friendly Data Structures


The Python language offers ease of syntax that allows programmers to complete code in less steps, especially when compared to Java or C++.


Python accomplishes this by including an embedded dictionary of data structures, which allows coders to create fast runtime data structures. Dynamic, high-level data typing shortens the length of support code required to make a program.


In short, Python allows for less typing, which means faster coding.


9. Excels Over JavaScript at Object-Oriented Code


JavaScript is another popular programming language, partially due to the speed and versatility that come with “object-oriented” programming. Python’s object-based subset is very similar to JavaScript, utilizing a programming style that uses simple functions and variables without engaging in class definitions. However, Python supports coding much larger programs, with better code reuse.


Learn More About Our Python Development Projects


Python’s constantly-growing libraries and open source support communities make it a great choice for any development project. Whether your team is developing a Mobile Application, Web App, AI, Data Science, or IoT, Python provides a dynamic and proficient framework that is gaining popularity with complex apps and social media websites across the Internet.


Many software development companies use Python because of its efficient syntax, growing features, and versatility of code. If you have a development project in the works, our team of experienced Python developers can help your company create a dynamic, unique, integrated project.


Call our team of web developers at +1 252 723 5982 or contact us to learn more about our services and all the benefits of using Python for your next development project.




Monday, March 18, 2019

Successful Outsourcing: 5 Common Struggles Faced by Distributed Global Development Teams




In today’s world, members of the same development team can manage complex projects, brainstorm during strategy meetings, and even share holiday celebrations -- all from across the globe. Nearly 70% of companies in the United States rely on global outsourcing to provide scalable and affordable growth. These distributed teams provide the benefit of varied experiences and perspectives, creating a diversity that allows companies to remain competitive as the industry evolves. Nearshoring development projects to nearby countries in Latin America allow companies access to talented teams for decreased costs.


There are major benefits to outsourcing or nearshoring a development project, or augmenting staff with a global team. Working with Latin American developers can save 30-50% on staffing costs, while providing high levels of talent in Javascript, Django, or Python web and app development. The shared time-zones allows distributed teams to have workday overlap, and communication technologies like Slack and Google Hangouts allow for teams to integrate, strategize, and even bond.


However, while global teamwork is more popular than ever, there are some struggles to be aware of when entering a nearshoring partnership. A good global team is mindful of the potential pitfalls, and takes steps to ensure a smooth campaign. Here are some common struggles globally distributed teams face, as well as some solutions for creating a successful development project.



1. Different Time Zones and Holidays


Here’s a nightmare scenario: You run an e-commerce site. It’s Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, and your website just crashed. Your global development team in India is across the ocean--asleep.


Time zone differences are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s nice to have rotating teams, essentially allowing for 16 hours of productivity instead of just 8 hours. However, the time difference can leave a lull in communication, even if the message is urgent.


Solution:
Instead of offshoring to India or Eastern Europe, nearshore to Latin America. Countries in Latin America (LATAM) share time zones with the United States. Depending on your location, a LATAM team could be in the same time zone or, at most, just a few hours apart. This shared workday allows teams to work together in real-time, eliminating the struggle of different time zones.


Likewise, LATAM countries share most major holidays with the US, so companies don’t need to worry about having half the team go on vacation for a holiday not celebrated by the US team. It also means both teams can celebrate holidays together, building a cultural camaraderie that leads to more successful, productive teams.



Communication Gaps and Team Building

Even when managing a team in the same building, messages can get garbled when passed from person-to-person. Typically, there’s a lot of back-and-forth between colleagues, clients, and management, and messages may come through multiple channels, such as email, telephone, or in-person meetings. It’s easy for an important message to get lost in the shuffle.


When managing a global team, it’s all-the-more important to maintain a meticulously organized system of communication.


Solution:
First and foremost, it’s important for global teams to meet in-person. Typically, Innuy sends one or two developers to spend two weeks with our new nearshoring partners. Spending time together, building bonds and connections, and learning about each other’s company culture is a valuable beginning for any outsourcing partnership.


Using good communication tools, it’s very possible for distributed development teams to build work friendships, share in successes, and even build a combined work culture. We’d suggest using a tool like Slack, and then creating an exclusive channel for the entire distributed development team. Chat tools like this allow for instant communication; in fact, many companies who share the same office send digital messages to communicate with someone who’s sitting right next to them. Using a Slack channel, it’s easy to forget your colleagues are in another country!


Inclusivity should be a core value for a diverse and distant team. Be sure to include your nearshore team in team celebrations, not just strategy meetings. Using a video tool like Google Hangouts, developers can feel immersed and included in the celebrations of their fellow teammates, even from far away!


Innuy also encourages outsourced clients to, if possible, fly and visit their extended team in LATAM. The back-and-forth exchange strengthens communication and rapport between management and staff alike, building a strong foundation for project success.




Ineffective Organization and Productivity Loss

Organization is always important, but it’s especially important when working on complex development projects with global teams. While communication methods like Skype and Google Hangouts do allow for regular strategy meetings and updates, it’s still possible to lose track of goals, to miss a critical bug, or to simply have a staff member confused about what their next task is. Productivity is a valuable commodity, and there are tools and methodologies for protecting against productivity loss.


Solution:
Our experienced nearshoring development team has found that creating routine systems helps prevent productivity loss. We use a series of tools, and each tool is used for a clear and decisive purpose.


  • Plan.io

  • Github will be used as the repository site.

  • Jenkins will be used as the CI tool.

  • Slack is used as our central daily communication tool.

  • Monit is used to monitor the status of the servers and the application


By specifying the purpose of each tool, and only using that tool for its intended purpose, important messages are far less likely to get lost. No staff member is confused about their next task, because each task is methodically recorded in the same, expected place.




Client Autonomy

Another way of preventing productivity loss is by creating systems that provide autonomy. A Latin American developer may save you money, but are the savings really cost efficient if you lose valuable time waiting for updates, passwords, and information from the global team?


Solution:
An experienced development team will provide for the autonomy of their client. We suggest tactics like running the deploy script automatically, in order to keep the QA server up-to-date. This allows clients to test all tasks in Client Validation as soon as possible, without relying on their global team.


Passwords and authorizations are kept in specific locations, where both teams can easily access them--thus, sparing the client from waiting for an email or phone authorization.


Jenkins, Slack, and emails are integrated to ensure swift notification of communications, especially in case of website failure or bugs which need immediate attention.



Differing Expectations of Goals

Managing expectations is vital for any development project. When it comes to outsourcing, sometimes different cultural phrasing can make setting expectations different. Descriptors like “quickly” or “very soon” may mean something different, depending on the country culture and even the work culture. Using very specific phrasing and employing careful communication can help decrease the chances of workflow confusion.


Solution:
In the initial engagement with our clients, we typically start with 1-2 engineers on a project so that our clients can see how we work and start to develop a comfort level before adding more developers to their team. Communication is vital to the success of the relationship, so a communication protocol is part of our workflow.


It’s important to offer thorough and careful estimates during the proposal phase. We move forward in phases, adding features and functionality over time. We offer monthly one-on-one reviews with clients to discuss the quality and activity of the team members. We also utilize task diagrams and Agile methodology, so both teams have a visual understanding of their upcoming tasks, as well as any dependencies. Our teams move forward in two week sprints. These short bursts allow us to meet, review, strategize, and make any revisions in a timely manner. It prevents us from getting too deep into the project, then suddenly realizing there’s an issue.


Both teams have access to a QA server, so developers and clients can test at any time during the process. To save even more time, our team tests automatically every time an update is made, to ensure the best quality of the application.


Learn More About the Benefits of Nearshoring in LATAM
Outsourcing development projects bolsters cultural exchange, diversity, and global talent--and on top of that, it saves money! Innuy delivers 100% team integration. Our engineers are available to fully participate in your staff's daily processes and progress reports based on your preferences.


If your company has an upcoming web or mobile development project, it’s important to consider the benefits and struggles of working with a global company. The talented and experienced developers at Innuy recognize the potential stumbling blocks of outsourcing, and we’ve worked hard to minimize them and create smooth, seamless, and successful development projects.


Latin America is one of the most popular places for North American nearshoring, due to our competitive costs and highly skilled developers. We believe in inclusivity, communication, and realistic goals. If you want to see our talent in action, take a look at our case studies to see the incredible results of our LATAM team.
We offer Full-Stack development in Python, Django, or Javascript. Want assistance developing a mobile app or website with high-level functionality, with Native Development in Swift (iOS), Java (Android), and Hybrid: React Native or Ionic Framework?


Call our team of web developers at +1 252 723 5982 or contact us to learn more about our services and all the benefits of teaming up with a dev team in LATAM.