Archive for Web Services

DIY App Development Platforms

Many people have great app ideas, but many never see the light of day because the development costs are just too high. iOS and Android app development in Brisbane can be costly; most people don’t have the technical skills programmers to build an app themselves, and therefore they have to get it built through an agency. The cost alone puts many people off. However, times are changing – it’s becoming increasingly viable to develop an app yourself, thanks to app development platforms. Forget paying thousands of dollars and waiting months for an app to be completed – these platforms are cheap and easy to use. In a lot of cases, they don’t even require coding knowledge!

The best DIY platforms

There are now a number of great DIY app development platforms out there that allow you to create fantastic apps on a budget. Of course, they don’t suit every single app idea – there are some apps that’ll still require a professional’s touch. However, many business apps can be built via these platforms – apps that either help a business connect with customers, or improve day-to-day processes.

The best DIY app platforms are:

1.    Appery.io – Create apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone with this cloud-based mobile app builder. With nothing to download or install, it’s quick and easy to get started. Cost: $0-$180 per month.
2.    Mobile Roadie – Create and manage your own iOS or Android app with ease. This platform supports all media types, and will also guide you through the submission process. Cost: $125-$667 per month.
3.    TheAppBuilder – With two different approaches available, this platform allows you to create apps that suit employees, clients, events and brochures. This technical platform can create an iPhone app by ipad app developer, as well as Android apps. Cost available upon request.
4.    Good Barber – Create fully customisable apps without having to enter a single line of code. There are 9 templates to choose from, 350 icons and 600 Google fonts. Create both Android and iPhone apps. Cost: $16-$32 per month.
5.    Appy Pie – Create apps for Windows, iOS and Android. This platform is cloud-based, and doesn’t require any programming skills (no coding). Cost: $0-33 per month.
6.    AppMachine – With a drag-and-drop interface, you can combine different ‘building blocks’ to build a stunning app. It is easy to use, and allows you to create apps for both iOS and Android. Cost: $499-$1299 one-time fee.
7.    GameSalad – This platform is designed for those who specifically want to create a gaming app. You can create apps for a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, HTML5 and OS X. With a simple drag-and-drop interface, there’s no need for any programming knowledge. Cost: $0-$299 per year.
8.    BiznessApps – A simple way to create apps for business purposes. With plenty of features to choose from, it’s easy to create the app you want within minutes. It’s also possible to customise everything as required. Cost: $29-$59 per month.
9.    AppMakr – Create iOS, Android and HTML5 apps without any coding knowledge. Build as many apps as you want, with unlimited updates and a host of other great features. Cost: $0-$99 one-time fee.
10.    ShoutEm – This brilliant app builder is designed to suit most requirements. It allows for plenty of customisation options, and it’s possible to integrate an app with existing content sources. Cost: $19.90-$119.90 per month.

Consider DIY

These days, there are many great Android and iOS developers in Australia – if you’re looking for professional assistance, you’re spoilt for choice. However, for those in search of a more affordable option, DIY app development platforms are a legitimate choice. Be sure to do your research first and make sure that the platform you choose can actually work to create the app you want – otherwise it could prove to be a complete waste of time and money!

How Do Search Engines Actually Work?

Plenty of businesses undertake SEO without really understanding how it all works – they simply throw their trust into the lap of their online marketing agency.

There are many agencies that offer internet marketing in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and most other parts of the country. In fact, there are online marketing firms working right across the globe. As with any industry, there are good companies and bad companies – it’s just a matter of finding one you can trust!

If you’ve chosen a reputable agency then you don’t necessarily need to understand SEO in great detail – however it doesn’t hurt to at least understand the basics.

“How do search engines work?” is a commonly asked question; this article seeks to answer it as simply as possible.

The function of a search engine

To understand search engines, it’s best to start with the basics. Search engines are designed to perform two main functions:

  • Crawling websites and building an index
  • Providing internet users with a ranked list of results in response to a search query

Crawling and indexing sites

The internet is essentially a massive collection of documents (web pages, PDFs, JPGs, etc.) connected by a pathway of links.

The search engine crawlers use these links to reach all of the information cyberspace has to offer – think of it as a huge network of stations, connected by pathways. The crawlers need these pathways to reach each and every station.

When the crawlers find a site, they ‘read’ all of the information it has to offer – storing certain parts of it to draw on later when needed for a search query. This information is stored in giant data centres around the globe, allowing search engines to provide users with instantaneous results.

Providing answers to search queries

When you enter a search query, the search engine draws on stored information to produce a list of results. Firstly, it determines which results are relevant – and then it ranks them according to the websites’ popularity.

A search engine’s main aim is to provide users with the best results in relation to their query. It’s all about user experience.

How do search engines rank websites?

Search engines such as Google take into account more than 200 rankings factors when it comes to deciding where a site should appear in a list of search results.

Using complex algorithms, they look at both onsite and offsite aspects to determine how relevant your website is, and also how popular it is (popularity indicates valuable information). They determine which sites are relevant, and then order them based on popularity.

How does SEO work?

Without delving into a 10,000 word essay, SEO works by optimising a website so that it achieves a high search engine results page (SERP) ranking. It looks at onsite factors such as site structure, content and title tags, as well as offsite factors such as backlinks, citations and social media presence.

SEO agencies

SEO companies take a look at all of these factors (and more) when trying to improve their clients’ rankings for search engine optimisation company. Most clients want ‘page one rankings’, and therefore a lot of agencies work on a ‘pay on performance’ basis. Any firm that offers pay on performance reviews its SEO strategy constantly. SEO in Australia is always changing, and therefore they need to keep up if they are to maintain or improve their clients’ rankings.

So, if you’re considering SEO be sure to get a grasp on the basics. It’s then a matter of finding an online marketing firm that you can trust to deliver the results you need.

Open Source Vs. Closed Source

When it comes to website development and design, you need to decide on which content management system (CMS) you want to use. There are many CMSs available to choose from, so it’s all about working out which one is best suited to your needs and budget. However, the first thing you need to determine is whether or not you want to used an open source CMS or a closed source CMS. Not sure what the difference is? Read on to find out.

Open source content management systems

An open source CMS isn’t technically ‘owned’ by anyone; it’s overseen by a controlling body, and managed/improved/worked upon by interested individuals.

: Advantages

There many advantages to using an open source CMS. Firstly, an open source CMS is free – and for many DIY web design in Toorak this is the deciding factor! Additionally, these types of CMSs make the source code available to everyone, meaning those with the right skills can actually modify the code and extend the functionality as required. Another main advantage is that open source CMSs are generally pretty easy to use and manage (for example WordPress), making them ideal for those who aren’t as tech savvy. Lastly, due to the popularity of open source CMSs, there’s plenty of information and support available (think ‘how to’ articles) for beginners.

: Disadvantages

The main disadvantage of an open source CMS is the fact that they are little easier to hack. This is due to the fact that so many people are familiar with the code; for larger companies, sometimes it’s just a little too risky.

: The best open source CMSs

For product management (e-commerce sites) the best three are:

•    Magento
•    Zen Cart
•    osCommerce
 
The top 3 general-purpose options are:

•    WordPress
•    Joomla!
•    Drupal

: Closed source content management systems

Closed source CMSs (also referred to as proprietary systems) are generally run and owned by one company. Most do not allow access to the source code, however the good ones do offer open framework – meaning others can work upon them if necessary. Closed course CMSs are usually hosted by the company that owns them – and they virtually always come with a licensing fee.

: Advantages

For larger businesses that just want a great-looking website with minimal hassle, a closed source CMS can work well – as the ‘behind the scenes’ side of it is left to the hosting company. Closed source CMSs can also be more secure (especially when it comes to e-commerce sites), and website development in Southbank don’t have to spend as much time securing the code (like they would have to with an open source system).

: Disadvantages

Firstly, there’s the cost involved – meaning a closed source CMS is less accessible to individuals and small businesses. Perhaps most importantly, fewer people understand or know how to use the CMS, meaning you’re really at the mercy of your hosting company. If they happen to shut up shop, you could be left with a site that barely anyone can do anything with. There’s also less scope to alter or extend your website down the track – and if you decide that you want to, you’ll need to find someone who is experienced with your particular CMS.

: The best closed source CMSs

For product management (e-commerce sites) the best three are:

•    Shopify
•    Volusion
•    AspDotNetStorefront
 
The top 3 general-purpose options are:

•    CushyCMS
•    Telerik
•    Sharepoint

: Find the one that’s right for you

When it comes to selecting a CMS, it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you based on your budget, needs and technological knowledge. Take the time to research the different systems available – it’s worth it in the long run.

Seven Common Mobile App Types

Mobile applications are an incredible phenomenon. Barely heard of a couple of years ago, there’s now an app for everything under the sun. From weather apps to banking apps, they’re making our lives easier, solving problems and providing us with entertainment. App development is big business – both for those with the ideas, and those who have the skills to make it happen. App agencies are popping up all over the place, and there are plenty of freelancers out there making apps for most operating systems. If you’re looking for an iOS developer or Android app developer in Adelaide, you’ll be spoilt for choice. While Windows and BlackBerry experts are a little harder to come by, they are there – and then there are those whiz kids that can create apps across all of the major platforms. When it comes to development, apps fall into seven different categories or ‘types’. These types vary in complexity, and therefore development costs differ accordingly.

Seven common mobile app types are:

Basic table functionality

Simple apps that perform a basic function generally fall into this category. This type of app generally begins with a larger ‘home screen’ that you click on, and this leads to another screen with more lists to click on. These apps would generally cost around $1,000-$4,000.

Database driven, custom functionality

The next step up from your very basic app, this type of app is popular when there is a lot of content that needs to be utilised. A developer needs to go beyond a basic table format to make this sort of app actually work. Information can be housed within the app itself (native), or it can be built into an online web service (dynamic). The costs can vary a lot with this sort of app depending on complexity, however a ‘native’ app could cost anywhere between $8,000 and $50,000.

Games

This type speaks for itself – these are the entertainment apps! However, gaming apps vary the most in complexity. It depends on a lot of things – from the type of graphics and number of levels, through to functions such as scoring points and controlling movement within the game via physical movement of the device. Due to the range in complexity, gaming apps can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $250,00. However, it’s important to remember that great games make money.

Enhancement/modification of device hardware

These apps take certain functions on a phone, such as the torch or camera, and basically make them better. There are a number of great apps like this available currently, for example there are apps for iPhones that enhance the camera – allowing users to take some incredible photos.

Dynamic apps

These apps rely on external information – i.e. they draw on information that’s stored on the internet, delivering it to your smart phone or tablet. An example of this sort of app is a banking or weather app.

Custom utilities

These apps are designed to allow users to input content in a specific way. Examples of custom utilities include Adobe Ideas, Numbers and Pages.

A growing phenomenon

Here in Australia, approximately 11 million people have smart phones – and therefore the app market is constantly expanding. Budding entrepreneurs are attracted to the app market; one great idea has the potential to rake in some serious cash. You may have heard of a gaming app called Angry Birds – this app has been downloaded millions of times. It has appealed to a wide demographic; you could find it on your son’s phone or your workmate’s phone branding it one of the most popular apps of all time. It has made its owners more than $50 million. Enough said. Got a great app idea? Speak to a developer today – your brainchild could be the next Angry Birds!