Our Blog Page Page Icon  

Our Blog.

Humans writing words that span topics from support to design to content management and beyond!

 

Why Use a Content Management System Like WebWiz@rd?

Why a Content Management System is Your Best Friend in Web Design

 

cms WebWiz@rd content management system custom design web

 

There are plenty of different types of websites out there, all of them with pros and cons. At REM Web Solutions, we like to think that we offer the best aspects of each rolled into one system when it comes to building, hosting, supporting, and changing your website. I am going to list off some of the most common types of sites from worst to best, and then tell you a little bit about how our content management system will make your life easy when it comes to your website.

 

DIY-From-Scratch Sites

 

As a business owner or an employee, you would expect that your day would consist of doing your job, growing your business, and making useful connections in the world. The last thing you want to spend your days and nights doing is building a website from scratch. Not only do DIY (Do-It-Yourself) sites generally look extremely low quality (since the average person was likely never trained in modern web design and programming), but they are often riddled with bugs, hard to maintain or make changes to, and give a terrible impression to any potential visitors looking into your business. For these reasons, DIY sites rank worst on our list.

 

DIY website ugly terrible clutter clashing low quality worst

Example of a poorly designed beginner DIY site

 

With a DIY site there is no access to support if anything goes wrong. The domain management, hosting, DNS management, and content management all fall to the person building the site, and if this is you, this is the last thing you want on your plate next to everything else you need to do on a daily basis. You also don't want to put that kind of excess pressure on your employees either, who probably already have enough of their own work to do.

 

While the actual cost of a DIY site is generally very low (usually just the cost of the domain name and hosting service, as well as your own time spent building the site - which might be worth quite a bit of money anyways), the result is almost always exceptionally poor. You can usually pick these sites out a mile away by their poor choice of colour and text layout, lack of up-to-date information, serious formatting issues, browser compatibility issues, and just about every other issue you could think of.

 

Template-Based Sites

 

Next, there is the cookie-cutter template website, which takes a matter of a few days to put together from start to finish. It uses a template, which means that in all likelihood there are hundreds if not thousands of sites out there which look exactly the same besides the words and links contained within. It is initially cheap to build, but does not have a means for the user to make changes to the site without phoning or emailing the company that built the site. At that point, it could be several hundreds of dollars and several weeks to months in order for them to make the change for you (and even then, it might not be exactly what you want!). The site may not follow the design or colour scheme of your company, and may even look like a competitors site!

 

template design quick fast website easy cheap no support

Example of a template-based website

 

You can usually pick these sites out by the numerous obvious errors in spelling and formatting, pictures that have nothing to do with the company who the website represents, and extremely outdated information. You can't really expect more than that for paying a company which will likely only spend a few hours looking over your information, hastily pasting it into the template, and pushing it out the door as fast as humanly possible. Utilizing a site like this, you might have no access to emergency support, possibly no help with domain or DNS management, and might not even have a direct means of contact outside of an email which lands in a general support box.

 

All in all, you will get exactly what you paid for - a rushed half-baked site that is not unique or convenient for users and owners alike. It will likely only cost you business and damage your reputation.

 

Custom Sites - HTML5 - In-House Management

 

Next, there is the custom designed site with in-house management of content. This generally means that there is a designer and a programmer involved in carving out and building your site from scratch, and you are receiving a site which is unique to your business. Since it is built using code from the ground up, it is likely a lengthy process and may take several weeks to several months to design and build. It also comes with a higher price tag, especially if your site has advanced features such as user login areas, E-Commerce systems, secured areas, events modules, or a blog. This is because it takes time to build all this from scratch, and can be a lengthy and expensive process of testing and debugging issues. You generally will come out with a high-quality site and a high-flying price tag to match, which may be a downside for a small business.

 

custom design website from scratch designer programmer web

Example of a custom built website with no CMS

 

The other downside comes from the in-house content management. This means that any changes that you want to make to the site post-launch will need to be run through the company who built the site (are you starting to see a trend?). This can come with a fee and can often take several weeks before they are able to fit the change into the schedule of the designers/programmers (especially in a small business).

 

There is the benefit of likely having access to support with a company like this, so if you did have questions or concerns you would be able to have those addressed. You would also likely have access to domain management, DNS management, and hosting services, although this varies from company to company.

 

Overall this option is middle-of-the-road, as you get a great website that is very difficult to make changes to in the future.

 

WordPress Sites

 

WordPress has been gaining traction lately among the more tech-savvy business owners, as it is a cheap DIY method of building a modern looking website. There are also companies out there which utilize the WordPress platform and will build sites for their clients using the tools available in WordPress.

 

While these sites often look very modern and cutting edge, they come with a terrible drawback. They are built using a combination of plug-ins which are all designed by different programmers. When building a WordPress site, the user must choose from the several thousand available plug-ins based on what features they want for their site. These plug-ins often cause compatibility issues when grouped together, and support for them can be fleeting, as once the programmer moves on from the plug-in it will no longer receive updates or compatibility fixes. Furthermore, updates to certain plug-ins may all of a sudden cause your site to longer be compatible with several other plug-ins you are using, essentially rendering your website (or a portion of it) useless until a solution can be worked out. These issues will exist regardless if you have a company look after it for you or not, as they have no control over these plug-ins besides choosing which ones to utilize.

 

wordpress DIY website example modern cheap advanced plugin corporation

Example of a Wordpress site

 

While it is often possible to login to the content management system for WordPress and make changes to your site at any point, it is quite often not laid out in an easy-to-follow format, and someone without a programming background may find themselves struggling to make simple changes, never mind large complex additions.

 

The support from WordPress is typical of your average large corporation. You submit a support request, take a number, and when your time comes your query is sent to a customer support agent who looks into your request and gets back to you. If you are lucky, this can happen within a matter of hours, and if not it could be 2 days before you hear anything. The next time you have an issue, you can be nearly certain that you will be talking to someone different and they will have no idea who you are. You lose that sense of recognition that you have with a smaller company who may know the ins-and-outs of your site before you even submit your request.

 

It is also not always cheap to use WordPress as many users believe. Some companies will charge tens of thousands of dollars to their clients for a complex WordPress site, especially if they are expected to provide ongoing maintenance or support for the client. The final drawback is the fact that if something replaces WordPress as a better option for DIY sites in the future, you can bet your bottom dollar that the programmers and supporters of WordPress will move on to the next best thing and your site will be left with no updates and no support. Essentially, left in the dust with a potentially massive bill for services rendered for a now unsupported site.

 

REM - WebWiz@rd Content Management System

 

With REM, your business and website gets the attention it deserves from day 1. Initially you will speak with one of our Business Development Managers who will take a few hours to learn what your business is all about, and will show you a little bit about how WebWiz@rd - our content management system - works. This is essential as it allows us to get to know you, what you want out of a website, and how best our system can benefit you. We go over the different modules available in WebWiz@rd and choose which ones we should implement into your site to make life easy for you when making changes.

 

REM web design kitchener cambridge waterloo ecommerce content management system

 

From there you will go through several rounds of design with our custom in-house design team to get your website looking exactly how you want it to look. When you are happy with the design, the finished concept is sent to our programmers who work on carving and building the website to look and function exactly as you want it looking and functioning. Once this is done, content can be implemented (exactly how much content is decided in the initial discussion and pricing of the project).

 

Once the site is built, our Account Manager will sit down with you and give you a tutorial of navigating your site, showing you all the pages with the pre-populated content that has been decided upon, and getting your final "OK" of the site build.

 

Once the site is built and you are happy with it, the Customer Success Manager will book a time for you to come in and take a training course on how to use WebWiz@rd, our proprietary content management system software which allows you to edit and add virtually anything you want to your new site. You then have access to support at any point in time if you have any questions or concerns about how to make a change or perform a task in WebWiz@rd.

 

WebWiz@rd content management system menu website custom design waterloo kitchener cambridge guelph

WebWiz@rd main menu of the CMS

 

Aside from the various modules in WebWiz@rd, the system also offers easy access to manipulation of Meta data required to influence SEO and drive more traffic to your website. During training we share details on the importance of SEO and offer some helpful advice on how best to choose and manage your focus points regarding SEO. 

 

We offer DNS management, web hosting, domain management, business email service, enterprise level spam filtering, and technical support of our content management system.

 

At REM Web Solutions, we like to know that at any point in time if you want to make a change to the content of your website, you can do it within a few minutes. This is why we designed WebWiz@rd to be easy to use for people of any technological skill level. There are advanced features available for tech savvy individuals, but they are not necessary for maintaining a top quality website. You can manage a blog, events for your business, an E-commerce system, secured password protected areas, banners, and numerous other custom aspects through this system. We even have an easy-to-use tool which will pull your content from the standard version of the page and reflow it for the mobile version of your webpage.

 

blog manager web design content management system REM WebWiz@rd

WebWiz@rd blog manager module in action

 

We believe that having this ability to make changes yourself to your site is an integral aspect of owning a website, and that it saves you vast amounts of time and money versus any of these other methods of website described in this blog. If you would like any more information on this or any of our services, feel free to reach out to us and we can answer any questions you may have.

add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

Why a DIY Website is a Big Mistake

Why a DIY Website is a Big Mistake

 

DIY Site under construction template computer web

 

A DIY (or Do-It-Yourself) website is not a good use of a business owner's time. This is especially true if you have little or no experience building an effective business website.

 

The Not-So-Great Options of DIY Websites

 

One DIY approach to the problem might be using a simple website template that lets you set it up with a few easy clicks. In most cases, templates are too inflexible for most business needs and have the same look-alike appearance of the thousands of other unremarkable websites on the Internet.

 

Another DIY approach is to bite the bullet and learn how to build a great website. In other words, you are learning to become a web designer yourself. This is a huge diversion of your time from your primary focus: growing your business. Even if you have the necessary skills, building the site still uses up your time and will continue to do so because the website will require maintenance and occasional redesigns to keep it current.

 

Delegating the task to an employee will free up your time but will displace your employee's time from his or her primary task. A website that is more than an Internet brochure or billboard is a large undertaking. It is anything but a quick and easy side task.

 

What Else am I Missing?

 

If you are building your own website from a template or from scratch, you are likely missing some very key aspects which will end up hurting your business rather than helping it. Knowing how to keep your website optimized for search engines is something that can take many months of research and is a constantly evolving field. Without keeping up with this information and knowing how to implement SEO strategies, your site will get left in the dust.

 

Most DIY websites also lack a mobile-friendly version, which is a huge drawback. Nearly 80% of all visits to websites today are from a mobile device, and if you have a site which is not mobile-friendly, you lose out on 4/5 people who try and visit your site. This will likely make those people either unhappy or completely disregard your business as an option for them.

 

Other reasons DIY websites are a big mistake include:

 

  • They aren't cost-effective. If you pay yourself a salary, your time is literally worth money. The same is true of any of your staff, especially when they're highly skilled. Building a DIY website by yourself or with your staff is essentially paying someone a high salary for doing a task for which they have little or no experience.

 

  • You aren't using your core strengths. Success requires using the strengths of yourself and your staff. DIY website design does the opposite in that it focuses on your relative weaknesses.

 

  • You are overworking yourself or your staff. Your workday and that of your employees are probably maxed out as it is, and building and maintaining an effective website is yet another burden. A good quality of life requires some balance between a work life and a personal life. Ignoring this leads to lower productivity and burnout.

 

Take the intelligent approach and hire a team of professionals to do the job for you. Contact us if you would prefer a stress-free approach to getting a custom built site with a content management system.

add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

How we do it? Part 2

This is a continuation from part one that talked about the creative brief process in our designs.  

 

After our design team, has reviewed the creative brief with our design team the begin the design process.  In a matter of days, the graphic designer provides an exciting look at the website concept and solicits early feedback from our clients.  This early feedback is unique to our process and is instrumental in designing the perfect website.  This feedback loop is repeated up to 4 more times.  To state it concisely, we allow up to 5 rounds of revisions per project. That’s more than any competitor we’re aware of.  We really want to make sure you love it before we build it!

 

Once a concept is approved by the client, the design files get send to our development team where all of the powerful WebWiz@rd components are attached by a dedicated developer. 

 

Every part of the project is tested during implementation by the developer and then double checked by your account manager.  A final check is performed between the completed product and the original agreement.  Once complete, the beautiful new website is held on our staging server and presented to our customer.  We call it a tour.

 

In conjunction with the tour, our technical support team will invite the entire client team in for training.  Training is designed to quickly demonstrate how the new tools work and to make it easy for our clients to make their own content changes in the future.

 

The new website remains on the staging server until the customer is ready show it to the world.  While on the staging server, the customer is free to modify their content, add new pages, transfer existing content from other sites, all while keeping their existing site up and running.

add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

Waterfall VS Agile

Although REM does accept projects that are better suited to a Waterfall methodology, the vast majority of the projects completed at REM follow an Agile methodology and in some cases, a hybrid of both. 

 

There are three primary types of projects that we work on at REM; website design (including our proprietary Content Management System, WebWiz@rd), custom functionality for these said websites and internal tools to make REM more efficient and precise in our day-to-day operations.

 

Because our websites are designed from scratch, it is important that our clients are involved throughout the duration of the design process to ensure that the design accurately represents them and their company.  Along with our client interactions, our team often collaborates internally during different phases of a website project, especially if the scope of the project changes during the design.   This is a great example of an Agile procedure that we follow.

 

On the same hand, WebWiz@rd, that is included with all of our websites, was built using both a Waterfall and Agile approach.  Although our developers primarily used their initial architectural plans from start to finish, which would follow a Waterfall approach, they did request insight from the rest of the REM team to get our input on usability and other factors that would directly affect our clients and support staff.  Incorporating both of these methods was necessary in the creation of WebWiz@rd and remains important as the tool is maintained.

 

When we are hired to build a custom solution for our clients we use a Waterfall methodology.  We gather all of the requirements from the client and then we design, build, test, (fix any issues) and deliver the tools to the client.

 

Similar to the way we built WebWiz@rd, when building tools exclusively for REM we follow a hybrid approach.   Our developers build the tool based on our requirements and ask for the teams’ feedback on particular pieces of functionality to ensure that our tools meet our needs.

 

There are pros and cons to both methodologies but I believe that REM has found a great balance and recognizes when one approach is more appropriate than the other, or when to combine the two.

 

add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

Data Quality and Data Integrity

Growing up I would have never thought that I would find so much interest and enjoyment in validating data; specifically, in data quality and data integrity.  My interests and strengths were in the arts and to be quite honest I don’t even think I mentioned the word “data” for the first 25 years of my life let alone understood what data quality and data integrity meant.  Even if I had been told their meanings at a younger age I was never in a position to understand their definitions in a practical way.

 

As I write this blog I am trying to think of any instances throughout my adolescence that would have predicted my interest in this area.  I’m coming up empty handed for anything obvious.

 

Regardless, it is something that I enjoy now and it is something that I am very good at.

 

Data quality isn’t optional.  It is a must. 

 

It is essential that our data is unambiguous and accurate to ensure that our day-to-day operations remain productive and straight forward.  This level of quality prevents costly errors and when analyzed allows us to make informed decisions. 

 

Data integrity is essential.  Full stop.

 

In our business there is no excuse for a lack of data integrity and as part of my job I am tasked with reviewing, correcting and enforcing data integrity across a number of REM’s systems; project databases, client datasets and financial systems.

 

Providing high quality data that is accurate and consistent across all systems can be a bit more time consuming but it is worth the extra effort.  Incorrect and disordered data can have very negative ramifications and can take much longer to fix (if any issues that arise can be fixed at all).

 

add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

REM Production Meetings

REM holds a weekly production meeting every Friday morning. 

 

With a coffee or tea in one hand and last week’s schedule, next week’s tentative schedule, and additional notes in the other, the REM staff gathers in our boardroom to discuss the-state-of-the-REM-world, as it relates to projects.

 

As the Project Manager at REM I am happy to lead our production meetings.

 

The format of our production meetings is very typical.  We discuss incomplete tasks from the current week and talk about the tasks that I have tentatively booked for the following week.

 

The meetings give everyone the opportunity to share feedback from our customers that could alter the status of a project and scheduling.  For example, if a customer is going on holidays for a couple of weeks this may force me to adjust the deadline of their project.  Likewise, if a customer has requested a new feature I will need to shift the effected schedules in order to accommodate the additional work. 

 

Our meetings give me the chance to confirm which members of our team can complete certain tasks in order to help balance the overall work load of the company. 

 

Our conversations help provide insight into our processes and customer relationships which is imperative for us to mature in our individual roles and as a company.

 

It is essential that everyone has a solid understanding of the projects that affect them, and in many cases, their colleagues.  Our weekly production meetings are an important part of our internal communication.  They help us remain prepared and productive and help ensure that our projects are completed accurately and on time.

 

add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

Contributors

Contributor Portrait
Brad Anderson
15
July 25, 2017
show Brad's posts
Contributor Portrait
Todd Hannigan
46
June 19, 2017
show Todd's posts
Contributor Portrait
Sean Sanderson
62
May 8, 2017
show Sean's posts
Contributor Portrait
Christine Alon
22
April 20, 2017
show Christine's posts
Contributor Portrait
Matt Stern
3
March 22, 2017
show Matt's posts
Contributor Portrait
Rob Matlow
79
March 20, 2017
show Rob's posts
Contributor Portrait
Sean McParland
16
January 23, 2017
show Sean's posts
Contributor Portrait
Shauna Ramsaroop
13
December 21, 2016
show Shauna's posts
Contributor Portrait
Ryan Covert
47
August 4, 2016
show Ryan's posts

Latest Posts

Show All Recent Posts

Archive

Tags

Everything Content Management Technology Design Holidays Off Topic Support New Features Personal Gaming New Clients SEO REM News Project Management Account Management Training
 
Home Our Work Our Team Our Services WebWiz@rd™ Support Contact Us  

OUR ADDRESS

72 St Leger Street, Unit 2

Kitchener, ON, N2H 6R4

P: 519 884 4111 | TF: 1 866 754 4111 sales@remwebsolutions.com

 

Footer bullet Client Centre Login

 

Accessibility & Compliance Privacy Policy
 
 
© Copyright 2017 REM Web Solutions. All Rights Reserved.
Web Design and Content Management by REM Web Solutions.
 
FaceBook Twitter Linked In YouTube Google Plus our blog