K2 Website Design Blog

Welcome to the K2 Website Design Blog

Recent blog posts

When businesses start looking for a website developer, it’s usually for two reasons: the website looks outdated, or the website isn’t generating leads. To compete in the modern market, businesses need modern, attractive, user-friendly websites that inform potential customers, solve their problems, and persuade them to buy.

What Is A Website Designer?

A web developer is like a contractor or construction company for the online world. They use their knowledge in coding, web design and SEO to construct a website that suits your specific needs as a business. Some web developers--like our Santa Rosa web developers--have experience with design as well, which influences the look and feel of your website.

Why Choose a Website Designer?

If you’re a new business, you might be wondering whether hiring a website development company makes sense for you. It is true that for some small businesses you could be jumping the gun. But If you have a budget for a professional website, then you will enjoy more benefit than if you did it yourself. Here are just a few of ways hiring a professional web developer can improve your web presence and take some weight off your shoulders.

  1. Custom Web Design - When you hire a professional web developer, you know you will be getting a website with custom design and functionality that suits your business. When you talk with our Santa Rosa web designers here at K2, we will go through your specific needs for the website, and we will use our knowledge of best design practices to produce the result you are looking for.
  2. Code and Web Compliance - Code and web compliance rules are always changing, and our Santa Rosa web designers anticipate these changes to maintain the health of your site so you don’t have to. As more people browse the web and make purchases on their phones, mobile web design and functionality becomes just as important as desktop design. Hiring a professional web developer can save you a lot of time and headaches that you would have to deal with if you were to maintain your website on your own.
  3. SEO Compliance - Web developers optimize your site so it can easily be picked up search engines. This will help you rank for certain keywords that apply to your business. The higher your rank for certain keywords, the easier it will be to stand ahead of your competition and generate leads through your website.
  4. General Web Maintenance - Even the most pristine websites can experience glitches from time to time. Maintaining a website is a full time job, especially if it is considered the “storefront” of your business. If your site suddenly goes down or your customers aren’t receiving confirmation emails, our Santa Rosa web developers can troubleshoot issues and take care of bugs quickly, so you don’t have to worry about losing customers.

Looking for a web designer for your next website? Call K2 today for your free quote.

Sonoma County SEO Experts Share The Importance of SEO Strategy

With so many websites cluttering the internet today, it is essential that your website has a purpose. Long gone are the days where your website’s purpose could simply be to “gain customer leads”. While that’s certainly important, it’s not the only goal. According to Google Master’s search quality guidelines, you need to have a clearly defined purpose that ultimately helps your users in a way that makes sense for your business. Once you design your purpose, you have an ethical foundation to start optimizing your site. (By ethical we mean that if you optimize your site for, say, gluten-free cookies when you clearly sell cookies containing gluten, then you’re lying and Google will ding you for that). Even if you are selling what you say you are, Google rates you for how well you convey your purpose. Whether you’re selling gluten-free cookies or running a satirical online media company, Google is less concerned about the factual nature of your content and more concerned with how well you achieve your purpose.

So, how do you “achieve your purpose” online? With your website’s purpose clearly envisioned, you need a custom SEO strategy to target users who are looking for the exact value you are providing.

SEO Helps You Stand Out as Competition Continues to Grow

The internet houses almost 2 billion websites as of today. Depending on your industry, you could be competing directly with thousands if not hundreds of thousands of websites. These numbers are only growing, and in order to cut through the clutter you need to sharpen up that website with a killer SEO strategy. Start by identifying what your customers need (the problem) and what you offer (the solution). Then strategize how to attract users who need your services by researching the way they search for what they need.

SEO Maintenance Keeps Your Site Up-to-date with Algorithms

Search engine algorithms are updating all the time, and you don’t want to cancel out all your hard work because Google updates randomly. Hiring an SEO maintenance team can help you stay on top of any web changes so you don’t fall out of Google’s good graces. Our Sonoma County SEO maintenance team regularly scans client websites and anticipates algorithm updates so you don’t have to lose any sleep over it.

You Can Be More Precise With Your Targeting

A custom SEO strategy is your gateway into the motivations and needs of your potential audience. A professional SEO team will look at user language and locations to target users and attract them to your site. Through competition analysis and market research, you can better understand the pain points that motivate your customers to buy … and the keywords that your competition is using. As you dive into competition analysis, you are sure to refine your competition further. This helps you find a niche, which is the golden corner on the internet. Anyone can be the leader of their niche, you just need an awesome SEO strategy to help you find it and dominate it.

You Can Create Useful, Valuable Content

The more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be to generate valuable, evergreen content. Let’s say you’re selling those gluten-free cookies and you want to write a blog post to amplify your brand voice online. Since it’s safe to say the gluten-free baked good market is fairly saturated, you need to stand out by understanding the specific issues your customers are seeking help with. Maybe it’s December and you write a post about gluten-free baking hacks for holiday cookies. Your SEO strategy will help you convey your expertise in a way that sets you apart from the competition.

Looking for Sonoma County SEO strategy and maintenance? Contact us today for a free quote.

Searching For Santa Rosa Web Design

Are you struggling to find a web design company here in Santa Rosa? Guess what, you’re far from alone. This is actually becoming a big issue for business owners, specifically those who do not want to hire a full-time web designer to their staff. No matter where you’re located, hiring a great web designer can be a really difficult process. There seems to be thousands of people claiming to be designers or freelancers, and if you’re relying on job recruiter sites, you could be wasting a lot of time sifting through subpar candidates. Whether you’re on the lookout for a web designer to join your team or a freelance Santa Rosa web designer to tackle a few quick projects, use these hacks to find a web designer that can create the design you’re dreaming of … assuming you dream about design like we do.

Searching For Web Designers Online

We’ve all been there: sitting in front of the computer screen, staring back and forth between your looming list of design needs and the blank Google Search page, having no idea what to even search first. If “award-winning affordable web designers”, “web designers who can also do SEO” and “unique web design specialists” are listed in your search history, you might be casting too big of a net. If you want to find quality, dependable and creative designers in your area, first start with your region (i.e. Santa Rosa Web Design, San Francisco Web Design and SEO … you get the idea). It may seem a little heavy handed, but if we’re going to stay with this fishing analogy, you’re way more likely find a fat, friendly creative fish that might even tell a few jokes before you eat him. In other words, if you search location-specific terms you are more likely to find design agencies and freelancers who live in your area and are much easier to communicate with.

Searching For Web Designers By Word Of Mouth

Another tried-and-true way to find Santa Rosa web designers is to ask around. As we’ve mentioned before, everyone and their mother is some form of freelancer now, so we are willing to bet that each one of your friends has a referral for you. If face-to-face meetups are more your style, this will be a much quicker way to find a Santa Rosa web designers that can churn out the work you’re looking for.

Once you find a list of designers in your area, start stalking. There are a few key details you will want to note as you research designers:

  • Check out their portfolios - Do they seem to have a bunch of clients within the same industry? If so, is that industry the same or similar to yours? Checking out their work with past clients will give you an idea of their creative style and see how diverse their designs are.
  • Read their blog - A great web designer will usually have a lot to say about it. While the writing doesn’t have to be spectacular, the enthusiasm should definitely be there. Browse their blog to see what they tend to write about and how they talk about it. This will also give you an insight into their communication style, should you choose to hire them.
  • Reviews and Testimonials - Think of reviews as a pre-interview test. Read through testimonials and reviews and look for patterns and frequent keywords. If several past clients say something about pace, process or time, then make a note to ask about time frames in the interview. If you see past clients talking about how hard the designer is to get a hold of, make a note of that too.
  • Check out their LinkedIn - When looking for Santa Rosa web design, it’s very possible that the web designer shares a few connections with you on LinkedIn. If this is the case ask around to see if the web designer has a good reputation.
  • Don’t forget to read the About - How a web designer talks about herself can tell you a lot about what the person values as well as their background and confidence level in their work. Depending on your budget and web design needs, you might find the web designer is either too experienced or too novice for your needs.

Looks like you found us online, that’s awesome! If you’re in need of some rad, custom web design holler at us through our contact page and we can set up a time to chat!

Businesses in need of a website do well to hire a website design firm to assist in the creation of the company site. Website design firms have the knowledge and experience to come up with a solid plan to create the website, providing search engine optimization, web hosting and more. Everything the business needs will be in one place to see traffic numbers soar and the business succeed. When choosing a web design firm to work with, there are a few things to consider. Knowing what questions to ask and services to expect will help you find the right company for your website needs. Below are a few questions to get you started.

What Services Do You Provide?

When choosing a web design firm, you want to work with a company that has a plethora of services. Top companies will offer website design, management and hosting plus search engine optimization, among other services. With combined services, a website will be well-rounded, able to be adjusted or changed when needed to benefit the company.

Does the Company Specialize in all Platforms?

Magento website design and WordPress web design are just two platforms that exist in the designing aspects of websites. You want to work with a design firm that has experience in all platforms including WordPress, Magento, Weebly, Wix and more. When a developer is well-rounded in their capabilities, they can determine the best platform for your website needs. A designer needs to be able to understand the aspects of the platform that you would like your website to be created from.

Can I View Your Portfolio?

All design firms should be able to provide you with a portfolio that includes examples of completed websites. By viewing the portfolio, you will be able to get a visual idea of what the company can provide for you. Look at various WordPress web design, Las Vegas website design and websites created around the world to see just what variations exist and how the company put together the pages. If you like what you see, then the web designer is the right option for you and your company.

Never be afraid to ask questions and learn more about a website developer. You want to feel comfortable working with the company as well as have a sense of what they can provide you. A reputable designer of websites will answer your questions honestly and provide you with the essential information needed to make the right decision for your website design.

There are several different web design and platform options to choose from, as well as software which leaves many people wondering, which is the best, which will be the most efficient, which is the easiest to use and what is going to help me get to where I am trying to go? These are all valid questions and if you are not familiar with all of the different platforms and web design options, it can be quite overwhelming.

Are you considering the use of WordPress? WordPress is amazing in the fact that it is very user friendly. Very cut and dry, black and white to the point where anyone with limited computer skills and knowledge could still figure their way around WordPress. You can easily adjust how you want your posts to look and put them live on your website. Additionally, utilizing a company that offers maintenance services such as our Southern California web development team, this is a very simple way for them to do so and you have no additional worries.

Functionality and Add-Ons

By utilizing our Southern California web development team, again, you have the ability to add on features that you would like to see accessed on your web page and create innovative solutions to several different problems. It’s as simple as giving potential clients and customers that ability to contact you/or your company directly through email, from the site. This eliminates extra steps and makes your site very convenient for other to enjoy.


Search engine optimization will essentially make or break your site, and in a situation such as your business and livelihood – you need to exude top notch SEO skills. This is where our services can greatly benefit the progression of your site, visibility of your brand, and increase in revenue. In combination with WordPress, you can rest assured that your content will be SEO saturated so you can gain the boost in rankings that you are looking for.

Amongst these great benefits from considering WordPress, you have to consider its flexibility, the automatic built-in features that it offers, e-commerce is an option, and the incredible support that you receive from their end as well as from our Southern California web development team. Those initial worries that you may have had about create an innovative and impactful site that is going to reach your targeted audience, can now be pushed to the side as we join forces to create a very dynamic platform for you and your company to benefit from.

The Main Differences Between Weebly and WordPress There may come a time when you are faced with the decision on whether or not you would like to go with Weebly or WordPress, and guess what? You are in good company. Being a web development company in California, there are many different scenarios that we are faced with daily and what it all comes down to, is your personal preference and what you are looking to gain from your site. Weebly is coined as one of the easiest website builders that is available on the market to date. As a web development company in California, we can agree with the fact that being able to drag and drop content that you would like does make your life a whole lot easier! This allows for creative minds to flow but in an efficient manner to where you can be up and going in no time. Utilizing their maps, buttons, guides and so forth will assist anyone in creating a site. WordPress is widely known for its blogging tools, being very easy to update post and remove information from your site is a must, especially when you are working on a budget. As a web development company in California, we see all too often people get ahead of themselves or not be able to properly maintain their websites; this is detrimental to your overall success. Give us a call to discuss how we can help your company have the strong presence on the web that you are looking for.

Magento website design has become one of the go to platforms for e-Commerce web development for several reasons. The ease of use and its ability to accommodate several different extensions helps tremendously in the fact that this can improve your site tremendously. The largest consideration when thinking about integrating Magento website design, is where to start and what is the most efficient way to create an e- Commerce site?

User Friendly Site

These types of websites are not just a couple of clicks away. There are many considerations such how user friendly the site is, if everything is transferrable between devices, payment options, how many products, etc. This list can keep going on and on and that is why it is great to hire a professional who knows the intricacies of Magento website design. Rather than sitting around stressing about how to grow your business, gain noticeability and increase revenues with this website – you can put your trust in a professional who does it for a living. Never mind the fact that you are going to always want to put your best foot forward when presenting information to the masses, you can place your focus on the business that you know.

The Flexibility of Magento

Due to the flexibility of Magento website design, it is actually quite complicated. It’s like a double-edge sword, but a great one at that! Offering capabilities and support that you cannot find with other platforms, it leaves people wondering if they should invest their money in fee-based hosted carts. Utilizing PHP and Apache, you will have to think about scalability concerns which if you are not proficient in web design, you can bump into a lot of unnecessary roadblocks before launching your site.

SEO Compliant

The SEO compliance of Magento website design is magnificent and SEO saturation is one of the best ways to gain the noticeability and attract the audience that you are trying to attract. It will drive sales like no other force to be reckoned with and you can’t really beat auto generation of search friendly structures. URLs that are search friendly equals gaining ranks on the large search platforms. Additionally, if you have more than one e- Commerce store, with Magento website design, you can control everything from one spot. The convenience for you, the business owner is made possible with an administration panel that can handle and accommodate your specific needs. With additional add-ons such as ‘recently viewed products’ and ‘compared items’ wish lists and sharing options – what consumer wouldn’t be in heaven having the opportunity to access your user friendly e-Commerce store?

Posted by on in Online Reputation


No matter where you are or where your business is, you can hire a website design team from down the street... or the other side of the world. Proprietors in this industry are remarkable in two regards: their ubiquity and the ease with which they can do their jobs remotely from anywhere. This is actually really great because such a field of competition drives innovation and keeps standards fairly high. The situation does present a good question, however, to those in the market for a new website: why should I choose a website design team from one area over another? While there are great web designers all over the world, I am going to make the case for choosing a team or professional person from the San Francisco Bay Area. 

The Bay Area remains the worlds' number one center for tech innovation. The most ambitious seekers of careers in this industry flock here to be a part of a culture that is home to both some of the world's top tech companies and an innumerable bevvy of start-ups. The competition in website design is extremely high and so are standards. 

Still, it might be possible to find a great web designer in India who can produce the same level of work for cheaper. After all, the Bay Area has high municipal minimum wages and web designers need to charge enough to pay rent in this expensive cost-of-living area. 

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Website designers in the Bay Area thrive on reputation, not on looking like a potential bargain. Not only this, but residents have a greater ability to change to important new developments in the world of website design, not only because of their ability to network, but because this is hotspot for major design conferences (such as Joomla Days in San Jose in 2010 and San Francisco in 2013). Having an attractive website is great, but reacting to changes in the web landscape is what will get people to see your site in the first place and have a better user experience. With Bay Area website design professionals, you can count on skill, talent and the ability to keep your website on top.


No matter whether you operate a clothing boutique in Manhattan or a Wisconsin dairy, a factory in Pennsylvania or a Southern California surfshop, the last few decades have borne witness to huge and wide-sweeping changes in the business landscape. Innumerable new technologies have been developed; however, none have been as important as the Internet. With websites serving as hubs for commerce, as well as instant communication with email, the Internet has revolutionized how businesses are run. Nowadays businesses must maintain an internet presence to stay competitive.

As a business owner, there are many examples to look to in developing internet savvy. Amazon.com is the best example of what a business can achieve through e-commerce. Amazon is the industry leader in direct to consumer sales, offering competitive pricing and a streamlined business model. Amazon serves millions of customers all over the globe, selling everything from books, food, software, clothing, hardware, and everything in between. They do this by profiting from other businesses that lack their own direct-to-buyer infrastructure. For your company, consider the benefits of a powerful internet presence and direct sales. By having an accessible web presence potential customers can easily browse your services and communicate with you. Furthermore, by offering direct sales you can cut out the middle man and save both you and your customers money. This allows you to streamline your business model considerably, giving you the edge you need to be competitive in today’s world. It is important to remember, however, that your store must be built well in order to make your products accessible to the end user.

These concerns are only amplified by the recent mobile revolution. Now all the benefits of an internet connection are available to people at all times, allowing communication and commerce to expand even further. The differing format of a mobile device requires a different webcoding than for desktop browsers, making a mobile-friendly internet presence doubly attractive. Mobile is the future, and Google, the premiere search engine is going to revise their search algorithm as of April 21st to favor websites that are mobile-friendly. Websites that are not optimized for mobile devices will be penalized and not be as visible in search results. Businesses are always forced to adapt to stay competitive, and Google’s new search algorithms give a powerful incentive for savvy business owners to maintain a mobile-friendly website. But a smart business owner shouldn’t maintain a mobile friendly site solely to avoid Google’s search-engine penalty, a mobile friendly we presence is a help to both the business and the customer, allowing for smoother transactions, more business, and more satisfied customers. 

When it comes to designing and maintaining a webpage it is a wise and cost-effective decision to seek professional assistance. For this, look no further than K2 Website Design.  Run by an excellent team of website designers, K2 Website Design has an extensive resume of websites designed for businesses and brings years of professionalism and experience to the table. Furthermore, their own webpage has a clean, functional, and attractive design, uniquely showcasing their own services. Consider the advantages of a professional designed webpage for your own business. Offering a helpful, professional, and classy face for your company will give the best possible impression to potential customers, and will give you the edge you need to compete in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.

Tech Companies Battling in International Relations: Google, China, Europe

The last couple of days have seen new reports of the largest tech companies battling it out with governmental agencies around the world. While all international businesses have to comply with regulations of the governments of the countries in which they do business, the big tech companies occupy a unique sphere of the market – the gateways to the internet, which is a public utility – and are large enough to flex their power both offensively and defensively. This context has created a situation in which giants such as Google, Facebook, and Apple are regularly stepping into the ring of international relations.



Just this week Google and Mozilla decided to stop supporting sites certified by CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center), the main digital certificating authority in China. Users of two of the three biggest browsers will be stopped with warning messages when trying to access any of these sites – most website based in China – as soon as the move takes effect. Already, the browsers have determined not to recognize any new certificates and all online monetary transactions have been stopped. While both companies have stated that CNNIC is welcome to reapply upon fixing some false certificate issues, this represents a major move against China's web traffic and internet economy, a growing sector. This is not, however, Google's only overseas struggle at the moment. 


In Europe, there has been a struggle against Google for some time, with the company losing a lawsuit over the “right to be forgotten” last year. Now, the company will have to defend itself against an anti-trust move from the European Commission. Google is used for about 90% of all searches on the European continent, a fact that doesn't sit well in Brussels, resulting in a recommendation of the European Parliament to break up the company. With Google's ability to majorly impact foreign web traffic with both certificate recognition and search engine algorithm changes, this is hardly surprising, especially in light of European attitudes towards large American tech firms in general.


Facebook, Amazon and Apple are all also under scrutiny in Europe. Apple is preparing to defend itself from a tax audit designed to pull back taxes from the company. This is in response to a low operational tax paid for commerce on the continent due to a deal brokered with Ireland, where the regional headquarters is located. Amazon is facing down over its right to offer prices as it wishes against the background of European cross-border trade agreements while Facebook is under scrutiny for its privacy policy.


All of these companies have big fights ahead in a number of different arenas; some will win and  some will lose, but there is no question that the results of these contests will shape the way that businesses and governments will interact in our faster online globalized world. 

Google's Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Will Ruin Your Business

If your website is not mobile-friendly by April 21st, Google will throw your website under the bus.  

I have seen it before.  Now that 60%+ of website views are on mobile devices, Google has decided to punish websites that don't work on them.

When the Panda and Penguin algorithm happened, five websites that I was manager of SEO for went from #1 on Page 1 on Google to page 8, 10, and worse.  The new mobile-friendly algorithm has been dubbed "Mobilegeddon" by the Entrepreneur

Google's new ranking system will be run in real time and will works on a page-by-page basis.  When the Google spider crawls through all of the websites over the week after April 21st, it will immediately rank the website as Mobile-Friendly, or not Mobile-Friendly.  

If it is not ranked as mobile-friendly, you need to get on schedule for a website upgrade ASAP. Failure to get your website mobile-friendly before April 21st will result in a rank decline that may take months to regain, even if the website is made mobile-friendly quickly afterwards.  Like I said, I have seen this happen before when the Penguin and Panda update came out, and this has been described as more catastrophic by bloggers.  Google said that the change will have a "significant impact" on search results across the globe.  

In addition to the mobile-friendly algorithm, Google is also including an app indexing factor that requires app developers to add deep link support, verify the apps website on Google Play, provide deep links for each page, and ensure that there are no errors in webmaster tools for the app.


Go here and verify that your website is mobile-friendly: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

If it's not, call me right now at (707) 293-7821.

Major Browsers Hacked at Pwn2Own Contest

All four major website browers, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Apple's Safari were hacked at the Pwn2Own contest in Vancouver, Canada on Thursday.  JungHoon (lokihardt) of South Korea was able to hack all four browsers by himself.  He was rewarded with $225,000 USD and new laptops.  The Chrome hack was the largest payout since the contest started, resulting in $75,000 in prize money.  He was able to to destroy 64 bit Internet Explorer 11 using time-of-check to time-of-use (TOCTOU) volunerability and recieved a payout of $65,000 for that piece of the pie.  He was able to complete all of his Google hacks in two minutes.

Another individual, Nicolas Joly, was able to hack Adobe Reader and Flash Player for a payout of $90,000.  

Posted by on in Security
Anonymous Hacks NYPD Union Website?

The YPD Captains Endowment Association website was recently hacked by an anonymous hacker group.  It has been declared that "no confidential information has been compromised." Anonymous was accused of the attack, but recently has stated that they did not actually inject malware into the website.  They also jabbed NYPD for targeting and abusing the people it is meant to protect, and that the attack was expected due to their previous actions.  

NYPD has been criticized recently for the choking to death of Eric Garner, 43, by Officer Pantaleo on November 21.  Pantaleo was not indicted for the death and protests occured throughout the United States and on social media as well #ericgarner.  The FBI has also accused a NYPD officer Yehuda Katz of installing a camera inside the NYPD Traffic Safety Office and spying on the people working there.  When nobody was in the office, he hacked into a computer and stole records for vehicle accidents and used this information to scam the people who had been in accidents (March 20, 2015).  Another NYPD cop, Jazmia Inserillo, accused her lieutenant of sexually harassing her and has been provided with $110,000 from the city of New York.  The accused, Lt. Jason Margolis, has been punished by the NYPD, losing 10 vacation days and forced to watch sexual harassment training videos (March 18, 2015).



My team and I have been moaning and groaning about Internet Explorer and its browser compatability and old version compatability problems for years.  We are excited to hear more about the Spartan Project coming later this year.  Spartan will be coupled with Windows 10 and, according to a Microsoft employee during a tour last month, will be able to provide high quality browser comptability and fast load times.  The software may be exclusively available for computers and devices operating on the Microsoft Windows 10 platform.

microsoft spartan

The features include the ability to draw on the screen with different colors, and with multiple fingers.  Another new feature is OneDrive integration into the Spartan platform.  The OneDrive system features a new ability to view who has made recent comments on which documents in your OneDrive folders, as well as who was the most recent to make a change to a document.  With the on-board talking robot Cortana, you will now be able to yell at your computer and tell it what to type in or what to do.  Also included is a feature that allows you to read the page like flipping the pages of a book.  Now the discussion will turn to the browser extensions that we all have installed like Ad Blocker Plus, ChromeCast, Check my links, and everything else people use.  And for all the luddites out there, you will still be able to run IE, so don't worry about a thing.

microsoft project sparta!

It has been forecasted that the company may choose to include Microsoft in the title of the new browser, but the name Microsoft Spartan doesn't necessarily make me feel very excited.  Microsoft has said the following about the Spartan project,

"Powered by a new rendering engine, Spartan is designed for interoperability with the modern web. We've deliberately moved away from the versioned document modes historically used in Internet Explorer, and now use the same markup as other modern browsers. Spartan's new rendering engine is designed to work with the way the web is written today."

The new engine driving the Spartan project is an off-shoot of the Trident system that is more focused on interoperability.  

Other new exciting Microsoft technologies on the way is Microsoft HoloLense, 3-D goggles that project a hologram onto your reality and enable you to interact with software in ways you have never imagined.  Check out the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aThCr0PsyuA

Whether you are a web designer or a website owner/client, you are likely working in a new business milieu – one that is only a few years old – wherein independent entrepreneurs and/or small businesses interact directly over large distances or across time zones. Even “local” jobs are often further than would make sense to commute for a meeting; most clients and designers never meet face-to-face. At the same time, website owners are also dealing with new technology suites for which they have no background for understanding.


Website owners, you didn't grow up hearing from your parents how to negotiate these sorts of contracts; the vast majority of the technologies your site will employ didn't exist the last time you had a site built 8 years ago, much less when you were growing up. This creates a context that obviously could allow for abuse, much as an auto mechanic might rely on the ignorance of his customers to charge three thousand dollars to replace a working head gasket when a thermostat is out. For website owners, this means you are likely to be on guard. Fair enough, but too often web designers spend large amounts of their and their clients' time explaining to skeptical clients what they actually do need.


To increase efficiency and create a better working relationship, web designers should follow these four steps:


- invest some phone time up front

- choose the technology that fits your clients' needs

- be clear about ongoing costs

- support what you say


One of the first steps to take when engaging a new customer is to build a trustworthy rapport. This means volunteering up some phone time. No you're not getting paid for this, but neither does this have any immediate value to the client either. However, for both parties, a willingness to invest in a more functional and trusting long-term relationship is both wise and a positive thing to look for in the person with whom you are speaking. Know where your customer (or designer if you are the client) lives, what the weather is like there, if they have kids, what they do for fun. You don't need to know their most intimate desires or if they prefer a normative to a positive ethics system; just make a genuine human relationship. This takes a bit of time, but it is worth it for both parties.


This human relationship should give the designer an idea of what kind of needs the client has and what kind of money they are capable of throwing towards addressing those needs – take these into consideration. Most web designers really want to work on big, expensive and cool looking sites with neat animated custom modules all over the place. That's really great, but sometimes all someone needs is a picture, some text and a contact form. Choose the right CMS for your client (sometimes this is Joomla, sometimes Wordpress, sometimes Drupal) and choose the right extensions to achieve their business goals, not your design preferences. Too often are over-ambitious website projects killed in gestation when overwhelmed customers realize they have walked into a money pit. Even if they can afford to build the website you want to build, they may not have the budget to maintain it.


Speaking of which, maybe one of the most important discussions to have with a new website client is about technology upgrades and site maintenance. What is obvious to a designer is often a huge surprise to their client: that a website needs regular maintenance and that the tools used to build a site last year now are no longer current. CMS upgrades are probably the most important thing to explain when getting started. Clients should know how long a CMS version's lifespan is likely to be and how much they should have put away to upgrade when the time comes. They should also know the consequences of not upgrading (see last blog). They should know why they should have an SEO budget, that they need to pay for hosting and extension upgrades, etc., etc. Your trusting relationship and professional assistance in choosing the right technologies should help in making sure this does not become a problem.


Still, even though you hopefully have a good rapport, you can only help build it by providing links to support everything that you say. Keep a doc stored with links to official documentation or 3rd party designer blogs that explain everything that you say. After some time of fact-checking a customer will likely take a designers word as truth, but at first everything a designer claims should have a bibliography to it. Keep a link to a blog comparing and contrasting CMS's; keep one explaining core updates for each of those CMS's; keep one explaining the necessity of extension security management; keep one explaining the need for SEO if they want to be found; most of all, keep a link to this blog to show that you are trying to do what is best for them.

Just kidding.


Good luck building smoother client relationships.


Joomla 2.5 End of Life and What That Means to You


Last month, I wrote about the impact of running out-of-date content management systems, such as the old Joomla 1.5, to your site's searchability, security and success. (If you missed that, you can catch up here). While all of that information is still valid, a major recent event in the world of CMS series has made necessary and addendum to that information: As of the end of January 31st, 2014, the Joomla community has ended its support for the long-term release Joomla 2.5. https://docs.joomla.org/What_version_of_Joomla!_should_you_use%3F


So, what does this mean? How bad will this be for websites currently running 2.5 and how immediately will the consequences be felt? The answers to these questions are somewhat complicated, but to sum it up: no one should be panicking right now, but over the next several months we can anticipate the consequences for not updating to become quite bad, exhibiting all of the same problems that already exist for other out-of-date CMS systems.


At the moment, websites running Joomla 2.5 have been fairly recently updated for security threats, so neither the site owners nor search engines should be terribly concerned about breeches to security, especially with many 3rd party extension developers continuing to support their releases for 2.5. Although some developers have certainly already stopped supporting their old software, the next major step in unraveling this framework is scheduled for March 1st of this year when Akeeba backup cuts off support for Joomla 2.5 (https://www.akeebabackup.com/home/news/1609-announcement-about-joomla-25-support.html). Akeeba backup is one of the most integral pieces of software involved in running a Joomla site. While other security problems could potentially be patched up by running an Akeeba backup restore, a problem that exploits vulnerabilities in an old version of Akeeba is a much more serious concern. Therefore it would be recommended to begin updating from Joomla 2.5 during March at the latest.


Of course, your website may still be fine even in April, but as the lack of security makes the framework less popular, more and more extensions will become permanently unsupported, causing more security holes, reducing popularity and so on and so forth. Before long, as we have already seen, the lack of support generally will cause to search engines to steer users away from websites currently running that software. If you think that being able to be found on Google is important to your business' success, don't panic, but do begin immediately to make a timeline for upgrading your website to the current version 3.3.

While many people are aware of the security risks associated with allowing their website software to run out-of-date, there is still an idea that these security risks do not immediately impact a website's success until there is a security breach, something that may never actually happen. This line of thought can lead site owners to see a greater cost in software updating than in the incremental loss of standing in the numbers game that governs the likelihood of a security breach. While the wisdom of this is questionable at best, it is not a wholly unreasonable gamble. There is, however, a significant immediate downside to gambling like this: major search engines such as Google will penalize your site for the lack of security that your site can guarantee to its users.



Much of a search engine's long term user retention is based off of their users not having any remarkably bad experiences while browsing the internet. This is why browsers now warn users of suspicious sites and accommodate search filters built by anti-virus and anti-malware services. It is also why they will steer users away from sites that are less secure by moving those sites further down in the search rankings. If that doesn't seem like a problem, remember that 92% of all searches navigate to a site on the first page of results. (http://chitika.com/google-positioning-value) A site with a low security value assessment by Google with otherwise very good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in place might still appear several search pages back, thus keeping the majority of users from ever visiting that site.


A website owner who is running a website built on unsupported technology might receive such a notice as this:




Before this notice, this site had been on the first Google search results page for relevant keywords. This screenshot was taken shortly after it dropped to page 14, effectively killing all traffic to the site.



Unless you are anticipating your users using Netscape or some other outdated browser without a search engine, or if you are building a site for yourself that you don't want other people to see, it would be extremely recommendable to keep your core technology fully up-to-date. It is not only a security imperative, but, immediately, an SEO imperative that you do so. If you are unsure what version your website is or if you are running a CMS, please call K2websitedesign.com at 1 (888) 292-6018. We will be happy to answer any questions over the phone free of charge.

If you're purchasing website design and/or website development services, it's probably because you are not an expert in this field. Of course, you might just be a web guru so busy with high-end enterprise development that you don't have time to build your own website; if you are, you can stop reading this – it is not meant for you. Okay. For all of the rest of you who are still with us, the problem remains: you don't know how websites really work and you are hiring a website designer or design team to build one for you, and you know that you can't really tell how progress is coming on a lot of the behind-the-scenes work, and that feels a little like going to the auto-mechanic who may or may not be trying to siphon as much dough as possible from you.



So what are you going to do about it? You're going to do the same thing that you would with your car: you're going to learn a little about it and a little about the business looking under the hood. No, not enough so that you are an expert – just enough so that you can tell if your mechanic might not be telling the truth when he says that your head gasket is blown. In this blog, we will look at a few simple ways to recognize whether or not you are getting what you pay for with web design.



1. Make sure there are set deliverables. You should know exactly what you are going to get, how much it will cost and how long it will take until the job is done. This might seem straight-forward and obvious, but really it is not. Upper-end development is done by the hour, and for good reason: it can be very hard to predict when a tool might not work or when something might break. A person might spend four hours doing something that seems, to a casual observer, like it should take fifteen minutes; or vise versa. A web designer will take this into consideration when making their bid, and will probably estimate about ten percent more time on the project than what it should take if everything goes perfectly smoothly. This might be slightly inaccurate in either direction, but a good designer knows that the guarantee of a set price for a set service is worth the risk; if you make customers happy regularly, you can eat the cost of a project that suffers from unforeseen technical errors.



2. Hire a small team. Ideally your team should be comprised of only a couple people. While it is often necessary to have more than one person for a well-rounded skill set, there should never be more than three people working on one website. There are two reasons for this. The most important one is communication efficiency: the additional amount of energy required to keep additional people fully up-to-date on a website's plan and progress grows exponentially; to keep the left hand talking to the right hand, each additional person on a project is tantamount to one more line of communication for each other person on the project, thus increasing administrative overhead 1 degree more than the previous person did. The other reason is personal accountability. You need to be able to talk to both your creative lead designing your site and the person who is actually developing it; hopefully those people are the same person. Of course there might be more than one developer or a content writer or graphic designer, but overall there should be a personal relationship between the client and a person who has their hands fully in the project.



3. Ask questions. Ask your designer/developer what types of technologies the plan to implement on your project and then do some research. You probably will not figure out how these things work, but you will get a good idea of how expert the person you are talking to is. They should have a background in different Content Management Systems (CMSs), templates, extentions, plugins, coding languages and various other types of web-building technologies. Normally a lay person can get a good idea of how knowledgeable a purported “expert” is by asking additional questions. Dig in to the person. If they are unwilling or unable to answer your questions on the phone, they are likely not representing a team that you want to hire.



Please take all of these factors and more into consideration when you are considering a new website design team. As always, feel free to contact us at K2websitedesign.com, your California website design pros.

Business owners try to accomplish two things when they are embarking on a website project: create a functional and attractive website that reflects the mission and objectives of their company, and to maximize traffic to their site. The question that will likely arise is, essentially:

“There are many services available on the web that specialize in website creation or in website traffic generation, while also many services exist that provide both. Should I, the consumer, choose to have different specialists handle these two aspects of my website's success, or should I choose one service that can provide all-around service.”

The answer is that the most cost effective and reliable services will come from designers who are experts in both traffic generation and website development.

One of the most important things that determines a website’s success is effective communication between the website designer and the client. Time spent coordinating between parties involved on a project will significantly drive up overhead. This is unavoidable for the largest businesses that will need different teams to handle different areas, but for websites it is possible to reduce the amount of inter-departmental communication to a simple relationship between site owner and webmaster. You don’t need multiple administrators getting in each others’ way. A website designer who already knows the site content will be able to make edits to increase the number of site visitors.

It is crucial that the two parties are able to trust in relying on each other. Creating a good business relationship between the website designer and the client is the most important criteria for a website's success. That is why the most effective way of ensuring website success is choosing a professional all-around service from a single website service provider, such as K2 Website Design, that strives to build long-lasting business relationships.

Still some people might be thinking that website owners would be losing the benefit of expertise by not choosing a service that specializes in traffic generation. While this may be true in some cases, web services like K2 Website Design are capable of offering competitive services that bring visitors to your site. With the added benefit of already knowing the website inside and out, it is not possible for a specialized service to offer anything so effective.

The largest part involved in bringing traffic to your site is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When looking into SEO, website owners are looking to ensure that their website appears first when a potential client is looking for their services. Primarily, you want your web designer to handle your SEO because they will already be thoroughly familiar with the website and so be most able to synchronize the search tags of your site with the content of your site with the purpose of your site. Furthermore, your professional website design service, one such as K2 Website Design, will be well-versed in open-source online technologies such as Google Analytics, SEOcentro and SEMrush. These tools significantly reduce time (and thus overhead) involved in the diagnostics part of improving a website’s search rank. The designer is able to make all of the website edits needed to improve ranking; a specialized SEO service would likely have to submit a task list to a designer. The savings here are then passed on to the consumer, lowering the cost of professional, effective SEO.

Lastly, one should consider this: while a traffic generation service does SEO to make money on SEO, a website designer is an artist whose main business is producing websites. At K2 Website Design, we want our business partner's sites to improve in the rankings just as they do. The sites that we build that are bringing business to their owners also bring business to us. In a word, your exposure is our exposure; if we make a website, retain a positive business relationship with the owner, keep our logo featured at the bottom of the site and people see that, that is the best advertising we can have. We have a motivation to provide cost-effective website traffic augmentation services that work because we work with you.

It is important to update and manage your website over time. Your website is an important tool to keep you in touch with your clients. Just like a physical shop or storefront can be built and opened, so too can a website be. A website can be launched, functional, and accessible for an indeterminate amount of time. However, much as storefront requires active maintenance to keep inventory updated and the exterior in good condition, so also must a website be updated for performance, style and security.

As California’s leader in website development, K2 Website Design uses the high-functionality Joomla framework for the our websites. We enhance our websites using extensions that increase development efficiency and limit hard-changes to PHP and JS code. These softwares are regularly updated by their developers in response to market pressures from their users. These extensions must be regularly updated on each site in order to improve functionality and optimize security systems . For instance, a shopping cart extension for an e-Commerce website might alter its attributes system to align with the best user experience as determined by new market research. These sorts of updates are important for keeping your site competitive in a rapidly progressing web environment.

The second major reason extension developers update their software is to thwart new security threats. Developers who wish to have reputable products must remain vigilant in the face of ever more sophisticated hacking attempts. Many extension updates are purely security fixes, and out-of-date extensions on your website are exploitable security holes. While a website may stay online for years without management, the risk of breaking of hacking grows constantly . Business owners in California know how important it can be to retro-fit buildings or carry insurance for earthquakes, as was reminded to Napa County just recently. A website owner knows that it is best to maintain a healthy and ongoing business relationship with their knowledgeable web-developer if at all possible. The designer/ developer that built the site is going to be most familiar with the technologies in question and in what way they were implemented, so he/she will be most prepared to maintain the security and functional integrity of the site.

Finally, the most apparent reason that a website owner wants to keep employing their web service after launch – style is key. Here's where the tangible building analogy falls apart: when you go to your local supermarket, do you think to yourself, “god this place looks fifteen years old”? No, probably not; but when a site was last built on in 1998, the user will be immediately stricken by how archaic it appears (check out this link and tell me I am wrong). California website owners need more than just the updated functionality to stay market-competitive; their site needs to look attractive and inspire users to click through more pages. Your website is more than just a tool for you to convey your purpose/product to the consumer; it is an experience.

Retaining an active business relationship with K2 Website Design ensures that the experience that your clients receive remains modern and compelling. Graphic image updates will keep repeat users interested, even with subtle changes. The functionality updates will maintain the perception of quality improvement among clients, a reflection of the integrity of your business in providing the best possible service. K2 Website Design is a California website design service that promises to provide the best possible service so that you can too.

You want to bring in business – or visitors – on your company’s website, and K2 is here to help. At K2 Website Design, we know how to manage a variety of software programs that will empower your website. Regardless if you need help building a site, or updating your current site, K2 is the California web design company for you. We can also handle your California Joomla website hosting needs.

K2 Website Design understands that the market changes all-of-the-time; therefore, your website will need to change as well. We are up-to-date on the latest website designs and software, so we can ensure your company is current with the latest trends. When you hire K2 California web design, we will help you identify the potential markets for your business or personal website, which allows us to update your website to suit the needs of your customers or site visitors. Our California website design company will work with you to maintain your website, even after we have finished with your design.

Many businesses have gone mobile to accommodate their users who access company sites through their cell phones, tablets, or other types of mobile devices; you should too! A majority of customers will leave a site if it does not cater to their needs; therefore, you should contact K2 to help with your California web design development. We will make sure you have a website that represents your company, and its products or services. We also assure that your site is user-friendly. Our professional staff is available to help with various tools, including Joomla website Design for California business, or personal sites.

If you need in-office or in-house assistance, our Northern California website design company can provide you with those services for graphic design, website development, training services, California website hosting services, and much more. K2 is your one-stop-development-shop!

To learn more about our California web design services – in addition to our California Joomla website hosting – give K2 a call today. We can help you update your site to suit the needs of your clients. When it pertains to California web design, K2 is your one-stop-shop!