Before & After: Hydraguard Roof Products

Polyglass U.S.A., Inc. is a leading manufacturer of roofing and waterproofing membranes. As part of a multi-phase overhaul of their digital properties, we redesigned their main company website (polyglass.us) in early 2016.

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of the next installment of this project: a website devoted to their subsidiary, Hydraguard Roof Products. This light and airy design not only looks fantastic — it’s coded to be effortlessly customizable so that the client can tailor nearly every part of each page to their specificity.

Client’s Name: Polyglass U.S.A., Inc.
Location: Deerfield Beach, Florida
Services Provided: Custom WordPress Theme, Web Hosting
Website Link: hydraguardroofproducts.com

 

February 16, 2017

March WordPress Training

This seminar is designed to give WordPress editors the knowledge and tools necessary to make the most of their online presence.

Date: March 23, 2017

Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free for Southern Web customers. Just $99 if you’re not yet a Southern Web customer.

Location: Piedmont Center North, 3575 Piedmont Road, NE, Building 15, Suite P-140, Atlanta, Georgia 30305. Map & Directions

Fees cover the cost of the facility, course materials, and refreshments. Southern Web, LLC does not hold the WordPress Training Seminars as a for-profit project.

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February 16, 2017

Before & After: Corey Airport Services

Corey Airport Services specializes in innovative airport advertising experiences for clients seeking brand exposure in transportation hubs throughout the country.

Our team set out to design a sleek, responsive website that placed an emphasis on eye-catching visuals and flawless functionality. In addition to highlighting their array of advertising solutions, all the airports that Corey Airport Services works with are featured prominently. Each airport section highlights information about the city and the airport, as well as the company’s local contacts and media kits.

Client’s Name: Corey Airport Services
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Services Provided: Custom WordPress Theme, Web Hosting
Website Link: coreyairportservices.com

 

February 16, 2017

Net Neutrality in Jeopardy: What It Means For You

While the news cycle of the past two weeks has been preoccupied with a series of sweeping executive orders from the desk of newly-inaugurated President Trump, other changes have been quietly taking place that could have profound implications for the Internet—most notably, how much you pay for it.

Ajit Pai is the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer whom Trump tapped to be the new FCC chairman, is an outspoken opponent of the “net neutrality” rules put in place under the Obama administration. The New York Times reports that he has already begun putting through a number of measures designed to undermine and roll back consumer protection policies.

While most of us are not yet feeling the effects yet, net neutrality is widely expected to be a target in the days ahead.

What is net neutrality?

Essentially, net neutrality is a policy that classifies the Internet as a telecommunications utility that must treat all users the same. This principle, encapsulated in the Open Internet Order of 2015, says that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot prioritize data or speeds according to any extenuating criteria. To put it simply, ISPs can’t charge you based on how fast or slow your Internet content loads, no matter where it’s coming from.

Without net neutrality, your ISP would have the ability to prioritize content from its preferred partners while throttling content from their competitors. For example, if your ISP had an agreement with Hulu and not with Netflix, it could theoretically restrict data coming from Netflix servers to the point that your content takes forever to load or doesn’t stream at all.

The problem with zero rating

Of particular concern to net neutrality advocates is the emergence of “zero rating” services, which some major telecommunications companies have already begun marketing. Within the zero rating framework, companies pay carriers for “sponsored data” status so customers can stream unlimited videos without it counting against their data caps. One of the most troubling examples of this involves AT&T and its subsidiary, DirecTV Now.

As Jon Brodkin explains in Ars Technica, “with Sponsored Data, AT&T charges other companies for the right to bypass customers’ data caps on AT&T’s wireless network. At the [same time], AT&T lets its subsidiary DirecTV stream on the mobile network without counting against data caps. DirecTV technically pays AT&T for the privilege, but the money is just shifting hands from one part of AT&T to another.”

As early as last month, outgoing FCC chairman Tom Wheeler sent out a report denouncing AT&T’s sponsored data arrangement with its subsidiary DirecTV as a violation of net neutrality rules, claiming that it could “present significant risks to consumers and competition. […] These sponsored data offerings may harm consumers and competition by unreasonably discriminating in favor of downstream providers owned or affiliated with the network providers,” Mr. Wheeler wrote.

Net neutrality levels the field so companies can’t play these kinds of games or create pay-to-play “fast lanes” on the Internet. Your provider can naturally charge you more for faster Internet speeds, but those speeds must stay consistent no matter what content you access. However, with the changing of the guard at the FCC, chances are favorable that zero rating services and similar schemes will expand, ultimately dealing a death blow to net neutrality.

What happens if net neutrality goes away?

If Pai succeeds in rolling back the Open Internet Order, the implications could be more far-reaching than you think. The effective end of net neutrality would usher in a new digital landscape characterized by:

  • Rising Internet bills. As telecommunications companies start identifying “preferred” or “premium” sites, you may find yourself being asked to pay higher rates to access those websites.
  • Rising costs for web hosting. Web hosting companies may also feel the sting of these Internet “fast lanes” in the form of higher costs. As a result, they may be forced to pass those costs onto their customers, or reorganize their offerings into a “tiered” hosting structure. If you pay a company to host your website, not only could your monthly bills increase, but your site’s speed could be throttled until you cough up the money for an upgrade.
  • Unpredictable SEO. As net neutrality begins to affect how different sites load on different servers, expect search engine indexing and SEO best practices to be effectively upended. Furthermore, since load times are factored into page rank along with content relevance, future SEO could be difficult to predict since load times will be affected by who is asking for the content and what provider they are using, rather than the content of the pages themselves.
  • Weaker results from paid advertising. If you use a paid inclusion service like Google ads to promote your business, Google’s Quality Score can suffer if your ad shows up on a slow-loading page.

Of course, until net neutrality rules are officially changed, it’s difficult to predict exactly how this will all play out or how it will affect your wallet. Regardless, if net neutrality finds itself on the chopping block, the bottom line is we can all expect to pay more for less.

February 7, 2017

Before & After: National ATM Wholesale

National ATM Wholesale, a full-service provider of ATM services, management, and transaction processing, hired Southern Web to craft a more contemporary look for their website. To give them the modern, professional aesthetic they were looking for, we developed a custom WordPress theme featuring a sleek yet eye-catching animation. The brand new site not only looks excellent — it offers a vastly improved user experience and functionality.

That’s not all! In addition to the complete redesign of their website, we are also working with National ATM Wholesale on a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign that will further solidify their digital presence and strengthen their authority in their field.

Client’s Name: National ATM Wholesale
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Services Provided: Custom WordPress Theme, search engine optimization campaign, Web Hosting
Website Link: atmmachines.com

 

February 2, 2017

Before & After: The Finley Firm

For nearly a decade, Southern Web has supported The Finley Firm with their websites and digital marketing initiatives. This year, we launched their responsive redesign from the previous Expression Engine site to the new WordPress-based site. It’s always a great compliment for us to watch clients return to Southern Web again and again for their web development needs. 

Client’s Name: The Finley Firm, P.C.
Location: Atlanta, GA
Services Provided: Custom WordPress Theme, Web Hosting
Website Link: thefinleyfirm.com

 

January 23, 2017

Site Launch Spotlight: Jere Metcalf

With a focus on Buckhead and Brookhaven, Jere Metcalf’s new website features a dynamic map that highlights a vast number of neighborhoods in North Atlanta, Our professional copywriters crafted thousands of words describing Atlanta’s most sought-after neighborhoods. In addition, our developers amplified the powers of WordPress to create a blog that allows users to toggle between multiple interest points.

In the words of a delighted Jere Metcalf,  “Thank you Southern Web for sticking with me and making this spectacular website happen!”
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December 23, 2016

Office Hours

Do you have a specific question about your website that you’ve been wanting to ask? Maybe you want to optimize the way your site runs, or maybe you’d like to become more comfortable updating your site content in WordPress.

Our team is holding online office hours on Wednesday, December 14th at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT). We’ll be available to answer questions for a full hour. If the room is full, hang tight or come back later in the hour.

Whether it’s increasing your site speed or writing more effective meta and title tags, we look forward to helping you.

Join Office Hours!
(GoToMeeting link will be active during Office Hours)

December 7, 2016

Before & After: Dream Homes by Jenny

With over $13 million in sales in 2015, Jenny Stallings is one of Atlanta’s top real estate agents. Eager to expand and enhance her online presence, Jenny worked with Southern Web to craft a website that showcases her personality, expertise and many awards and accolades. The Dream Homes by Jenny website was built using WordPress and features our customizable IDX functionality.

Client’s Name: Dream Homes by Jenny
Location: Atlanta, GA
Services Provided: Custom WordPress theme, IDX implementation, web hosting
Website Link: dreamhomesbyjenny.com

before-after

November 23, 2016

Interview with a Developer: What is JavaScript?

Drew Barton: I’m here with Byron Johnson who is one of our developers here at Southern Web. Our topics today that we’re discussing is JavaScript, so what is JavaScript?

Byron Johnson: JavaScript is a scripting language that was created to provide various functionality that you could implement within a browser. But, recently, it goes into broader uses such as service side and desktop side programming. So that’s what it is in its basic form.

Drew: Oftentimes you’ll hear people say “JavaScript” or “Java”. Are they the same things?

Byron: No. JavaScript is based on Java but it’s a more simple scripting language as opposed to Java, but was created for the use within a browser, whereas Java is used strictly for application development. Most of your apps on your phones, particularly Android, those are created in Java. Also, desktop applications, or programs like we used to call them, can be built in Java. You wouldn’t find Java in the browser.

Drew: Okay. When you know JavaScript, what can you do with it?

Byron: You can do tons with JavaScript. JavaScript was originally created to build interactions within the browser, and it’s still used for that purpose today, but it’s taken on a lot broader perspective as well. For instance, whenever you click a button on a site, JavaScript can allow that click to perform all kinds of different tasks or interactions with other elements on the page. If you have ever browsed a site, clicked a button on the page, and had a screen pop up, that’s usually a JavaScript implemented interaction. That’s a standard use of JavaScript and it’s been used for since the 90s.

Today, it’s being used to send and retrieve data from servers so that it’s starting to tie a little bit more into the back end. You can also now use JavaScript to run tasks on your machine. So what a lot of programmers are doing these days is utilizing JavaScript to automate redundant tasks such as compiling SASS. That’s an example of a more current usage of JavaScript that we see it evolve in to.

Drew: When you’re doing development, do you choose to build it in JavaScript or HTML? Do you pick one or the other? Do you use them both together? Can you tell me more?

Byron: Yeah. HTML is your structure, whereas JavaScript is used more for the interaction. You can’t have one without the other per say. You can’t just build a JavaScript website; there’s always going to be HTML involved because that’s going to be your structure and your foundation, much like a house. Your walls would be the equivalent of your HTML, whereas the lights would be turning on and off, the electrical system, would be more like the JavaScript implementation. You’ll never really have just JavaScripts completely. There will always be HTML involved.

Drew: Earlier you mentioned server-side JavaScript and client-side JavaScript. What’s the difference between those two things?

Byron: Client side is referring strictly to browser interaction. These interactions can include showing or hiding data, parallax scrolling, interactive drop down menus, etc. You, as a client, are interacting with that website, and these interactions are controlled by client side JavaScript. The server side, which includes some newer JavaScript technologies, is the stuff that you don’t necessarily see happening on the front end. JavaScript is now being utilized to store data in a databases and can even control the whole entire database. Where you’ll see the server side and the client side working together, for instance, is searching on a website for a person. When you click “go” or “search”, that clicking is a client side event, then the person’s information would be returned from the server. That returned data would be controlled by the JavaScript database. This would be an example of the client side and the server side working together.

Drew: So, if you’re intrigued by JavaScript, and you wanted to learn some more about it, what would you tell them to do, where would you tell them to start to find out more about it?

Byron: The best sources that I’ve used thus far, and I’ve used a few different sources, is Code School’s JavaScript courses. They have a series of three JavaScript lessons, but they’re very good and they’re very detailed. If you’re looking for a free source, the best one I’ve found is Code Academy. Code Academy has a pretty good walk-through on JavaScript, I just don’t think it’s as structured as well as Code School’s is, but that’s another great option. Then, from the books that I’ve read, a really great source was the book JavaScript and jQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development by Jon Duckett. It’s a really great book, especially for someone that learns more from a visual aid. The way it lays everything out and the flow of the book is really great. It also has jQuery in there, but that’s more of an added bonus. I’d highly recommend it as a starting point for JavaScript.

Drew: Great. Where do you see JavaScript going in the future?

Byron: Well, it used to be something that was used for basic interactions, and a lot of people even kind of shunned it in the early 2000s. In web development, it wasn’t something that was too big of a thing, but you needed it sometimes. Now, JavaScript, since it’s taken on this broader perspective of going more into the server side and being used on the desktop side for developers to automate tasks, it’s stretching out everywhere. Due to it’s newly emerged prevalence, I think it’s just going to keep flourishing from here.

If you can learn JavaScript just on the front end side, you now have that understanding of how JavaScript works and can begin to apply that same knowledge towards back end JavaScrip development. No longer do you have to learn multiple languages to interact with the front end and back end. For instance, with PHP you would learn PHP for the front end, but then learn MySQL to handle the server side of things. The same thing with Microsoft. You would need to learn .net for front end development, but then you’d also then have to use SQL to control the database back end side. Now with JavaScript, you can streamline your knowledge. If you know JavaScript, you can now create a whole website or an application just by knowing just one language. You can now bring those two worlds together with one scripting language. That makes it very powerful.

Another thing about JavaScript is it’s very fast, it’s a lot quicker than these older technologies. I think you’re just going to see it become more encompassing over the web development world as a whole. We also have two different frameworks created by two of the biggest web companies out there. Google has created a JavaScript framework called Angular and we also have React.js which is popular right now and was created by Facebook. When you see companies like that set up their own frameworks with JavaScript, you can only imagine how this is going to continue with leaders within the web industry. I think it’s going to keep flourishing from here.

Drew: That’s a lot of great information Byron. Thanks.

Byron: Awesome. No problem.

October 17, 2016
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