ShuttleBox Launches GR Coney Tour

By Kristopher

ShuttleBox is pleased to announce the launch of Grand Rapids Coney Tour, a website dedicated to finding the best hot dog in the Grand Rapids area.

The coney (or Long Island Coney) was invented in Jackson, MI, its name paying homage to Long Island, New York, where the hot dog originated. GR Coney Tour aims not just to find the best coney in Grand Rapids, but best all around hot dog or hot dog restaurant. The website is user-driven, relying on user reviews and ratings of the restaurants to rank them.

Visit GR Coney Tour at grconeytour.com.

Starting a Business Blog

By Kieran
Photo courtesy pinksherbet@flickr

There are a plethora of blogs out there to wade through on the ‘net.  What will make your blog stand out?  What are some common mistakes made in setting up a business blog?  At ShuttleBox we set up just about as many blogs for businesses as we do other non-blogging software, so we are very aware of the pros and cons of blogging, as well as the right and wrong ways of going about it.  In this article we’ll look at some of the very basics.  If you’ve been around the blog-block before, please feel free to contribute your thoughts.  If not, then this article is for you.

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How We Tripled Our Traffic

By Kieran
Traffic - Photo by wakajawaka @ flickr

After just a couple short months, I’m thrilled to say we’ve tripled the traffic to our site.  Like any other successful business, we’ve been using various methods and tools to bring in the appropriate visitors.  The data has been gathered and analyzed via Google Analytics, and I have to admit I’m a bit surprised by the results.

Are those t-shirts you bought your employees a good form of advertising?  What about business cards and e-mail signature links?  Is tweeting worth the effort?  Being a relatively new business and having only been blogging for a handful of months, I consider these results to be based on a clean slate, not biased by historical efforts or data.  Let’s take a look!

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Using WooRank to Tidy Up Your Site

By Kristopher
WooRank

There are several tools on the web to analyze your website, it’s content, ranking, keywords, visibility, etc, but WooRank bundles up all that information into one clean, easy to understand interface to give you the most information on how to improve your web site’s ranking and visibility. WooRank not only tells you what is wrong, but how to change it, why it matters and who it matters to, providing the most comprehensive information to fix your site.

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OpenAvanti: Version 1.0.3 Released

By Kristopher

ShuttleBox is proud to announce the release of OpenAvanti 1.0.3. This new release is a maintenance and documentation release. No new functionality or process changes were introduce in this release.

OpenAvanti is an object oriented PHP5 application framework that allows for expedited development by providing a solid foundation. You can download the new release from the OpenAvanti website.

The Power of Keywords with the Google

By Kristopher
hello_kitty

Any SEO scam artist expert will tell you that keywords and their position are extremely important to your search engine rankings. We here at ShuttleBox witnessed the power of keywords this weekend as we noticed that our website ranks 10th in the Google search results when you search for “hello kitty sweat pants.” How did that happen?

I made mention of hello kitty a few times in my last blog entry as an example of an e-commerce product, which catapulted us in the search rankings. Accidentally, of course. Maybe if we’re lucky, one of those teenage girls or mothers of teenage girls searching for hello kitty sweat pants might need some web development done as well.

We’re not holding our breaths.

Google Drops Support for Old Browsers

By Kieran
A Fresh Grave

Congratulations to Google for deciding to drop support for old browsers.  The web cannot bloom without some pruning of dead wood every now and then.  In a recent e-mail to Google App admins, Google announced they are withdrawing support for browsers prior to Internet Explorer 7.0, Firefox 3.0, Chrome 4.0, and Safari 3.0.

IE 6 was released nearly nine years ago in August of 2001.  With how dramatically things have changed on the web in the past nine years, it is hard to believe there are still folks who do still support it.  How long after a new product is released should an old product be maintained by the creators and supported by third-parties?  An equally important question, in my opinion, is how long should software dependent on old technologies be maintained before getting an overhaul.  Technical debt grows exponentially as the years go on, and it quickly becomes harder and less cost-effective to maintain old software than it would be to start over and do things the right way based on current standards and practices.  Read on to view the e-mail from Google.

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6 Features Your E-Commerce System Should Have

By Kristopher
shopping cart

Here at ShuttleBox, we consider E-commerce to be a part of our bread and butter. As self labeled experts in the field, it pains us to see poorly implemented, hard to use e-commerce sites that are sorely lacking in needed features to help direct customers and increase sales.

That’s why we’ve composed a list of six features that we think every e-commerce application should have. These features exist to enhance your sales, market your products, increase customer satisfaction and ease of use of the web site. Some of them are so simple and basic, we’re amazed that some sites don’t have them… but we won’t be naming names.
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Does Your Website Look Dead?

By Kristopher
tombstone

If a visitor to your website today also visited 3, 6 or 12 months ago, would he see the exact same, unchanged website? Or would he have a plethora of new information available to him? Will the visitor, customer or potential customer think you went out of business if your website hasn’t changed since 1997?

There is much value to gain from a frequently updated web presence. It provides the ability to engage your customers and prospects and gives your company a sense of activity and stability. It can also be a valuable marketing and sales tool to keep your website updated with your latest and greatest services and products.

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Social Media with Real Business Consequences: Foursquare

By Kieran
foursquare_logo

There has been a lot of talk of social media for a while now, as the web has moved from a one-to-many model, in which those who know how to develop sites or can afford to have them made for them broadcast their message to the world, to a many-to-many model, in which anyone can start up a blog or post anything they desire to services such as Twitter or Facebook.  Literally hundreds of social media sites have spawned up around the web giving the world a voice, but the consequence is that it can be hard to find social media applications that are genuinely original and bringing something new to the table.

One application, however, has brought many different aspects of social media together into one new, creative, original, and fun application – one that businesses, I believe, should be quick to embrace: Foursquare.  Foursquare is doing for social media what the Wii did for video games; it is getting people up, moving around, and interacting with the medium in a new and creative way.  If you’ve not heard of Foursquare before, or can’t understand how it can help your business, read on.

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