iASP Client Login

Blog

Coming Soon to an Internet Near You!

Coming Soon to an Internet Near You!

Coming Soon to an Internet Near You!

With not 1 but 2 of the most significant projects we're had the pleasure of producing on our schedule, apologies if we've skipped a Blog update or Two over these past few months.

As regular readers would be well aware we very rarely use this forum to spruik about our achievements, but in this case as they are so important to our stakeholders it justified an exception..

The first milestone was the March completion of the 12 months process of upgrading the iASP™ Powered Work Health and Safety Management Platform we've continuously developed on behalf of Employers Mutual Ltd. since 2010. 

The platform, which consists of several independently branded instances, including HEMsafe, is a Cloud-based system that provides all the tools and resources organisations across multiple industries need to manage their day to day WHS related obligations and maintain health and safety within their workplace.

While the upgrade included enhancements to the front-end public website, the primary focus was the Member-only features and functions.

The application framework was re-engineered to facilitate mobile device compatibility as well as improved desktop version usability.

Additionally, the entire platform was expanded from a single-user focus to an enterprise level application with the introduction of powerful access controls and extensive workflow and version controls.

Key new features include a new Workplace Homepage featuring several interactive dash-board like functions including a calendar based display of all relevant activities and reminders, which provides individual Users with instant access to all tasks that require action.

The second major project, which is scheduled for live launch next Monday, is a Strata Management platform which has been developed with the guidance of one of the largest Strata Management providers in Victoria.

StrataPort, which will launch with around 20,000 initial customers, is a Cloud-based platform that seamlessly integrates to existing internal Strata Management systems and then translates and publishes relevant information for individual Users in a secure, password protected environment that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime from any Internet connected device.

In addition to publication of all Building, Lot, Meeting, Insurance and other data, StrataPort capabilities include submission of "smart" requests such as Meeting Proxy Forms and Insurance Certificate of Currency Application Forms.

The system also features an integrated Support Ticket system that can be paired with external systems as required.

The launch of StrataPort and the generational upgrades to the WHS Management Systems reflect the evolution of the iASP™ technology platform into a truly Enterprise Level Application and marks the beginning of the most exciting stage of our journey to date.

We look forward to the future with great excitement.

Watch this space!


Keep in Touch

Follow on our Facebook Page to stay up to date with what's on at iASP Central.

And if you think we can help your business to improve with Enterprise Software, then Get in Touch.


What Ever Happened to Google PageRank?

What Ever Happened to Google PageRank?

What Ever Happened to Google PageRank?

When was the last time you heard anyone mention the term PageRank?

It's the benchmark of a successful website.
Or at least, it used to be.

Now it seems to be that 'thing' we all used to talk about, but shouldn't mention any more.


A Brief History of PageRank

PageRank was one of the first algorithms used by Google to measure the importance of a web page.

The logic was that web authors will link to useful or popular web pages more often than to less useful pages. Particularly those best suited to support the content they were writing about.

So PageRank counted the number and quality of links pointing to web page, and gave the page a ranking out of 10.

Each link was like a vote. The more links/votes a page has, the higher its PageRank (more or less).

This was then joined with the frequency of keywords on a page. So a web page could have different a PageRank for different keywords.

The general understanding of PageRank became:
When a web page has a high PageRank for a keyword, it will display higher in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Thus, the better the PageRank a web page has, the better a web page must be.

From this, web masters and other types soon found a way to take advantage of the simplicity of PageRank.

Achieving a high PageRank for a particular keyword became a lucrative and competitive business.

And then one day, it all just seemed to stop working.

New websites would get stuck on a PageRank of 0. For older websites, their PageRank seemed to be unresponsive. SEO efforts appeared to be ineffective in improving the PageRank.

As a web developer, this vexed me. I was terribly vexed (Gladiator reference). Why are the websites I build deemed worthless in the eyes of Google?

So like we all do when we want to know something, I Google'd it.

It turns out that we had all thinking about PageRank the wrong way, and Google responded to change this.


The PageRank Phase-Out

As far back as 2009, Google stated that site owners were focusing on PageRank too much. We were giving it more value than it actually had; and so Google were going to phase it out.

In October of 2009, Google removed PageRank measurements from their Webmaster Tools.

Other websites that allowed people to find their PageRank still existed though. So many failed to notice what Google were doing.

Then, in November 2014, Google stopped updating their visible PageRank feed. This was the source that the other online tools were using.

Google followed up a year later by announcing that there would not be any more updates to the PageRank feed.

You'll remember that this is about the time that the SEO community began to shift their focus to content.

And Google started to release new algorithms, and update their older algorithms.

The SEO community scrambled, trying to determine the new way to improve SEO. Searching for any sneaky advantage that they could.

Then Google started recommending everyone shift their focus towards creating 'quality content'.

And now we're back into the present.


So is PageRank dead or does it still matter in SEO?

PageRank is still 'a thing'. It's just had it's badge of honour removed.

PageRank will always be an important factor to determine the best results for a search query.

But webmasters shouldn't focus on PageRank as a definitive measure of success.


What's next then?

Search engine optimisation now encompasses a lot more than just keywords and links.

While keywords and links are still an important part of SEO, they are now a minor part of a larger set of metrics.

In fact, Search Engine Optimisation is such a large topic now, that it's better for me to point you to the masters.

Our first port of call is always the Google Webmasters website. This site explains the fundamentals of how search works. It also guide you to help Google find, index and rank your site.

If you're a beginner in SEO, I recommend heading to the Moz website next. Their SEO guides are easy to follow, and their free Moz tools are great to find where you should start first.

Then check out Majestic SEO for more tools to give you an in-depth view of your website.

Of course, you can keep following our Blog for the big updates in the SEO. And check our social media feeds for useful SEO tips and advice.



So if you're still using the PageRank of your website as a measurement of success, it's time to catch up.

You should now be talking in Conversation rates, Bounce rates and clickthrough rates.



Resources:



Agree? Disagree? Start a conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


A Review of eCommerce Predictions for 2016

A Review of eCommerce Predictions for 2016

A Review of eCommerce Predictions for 2016

2015 was an exceptional year for eCommerce.

Australian shoppers smashed the predicted $10 billion in online retail spending.

According to the National Bank of Australia, online retail spending in Australia increased by 10%, up to $17.6 billion1.

Early last year, we reviewed the industry predictions for eCommerce trends in 2015.

We reported that the major focus would be in the areas of mobile shopping, social media selling, and the combination of traditional marketing channels and digital marketing channels to provide a similar shopping experience for the customer.

mCommerce saw the biggest growth in 2015, helped in part by the growth in mobile device usage and the mobilegeddon that unfolded in the middle of the year.

We saw a serious shift in the capability to buy online direct from mobile devices rather than just gather information to support the customer's buying decision.

2016 is well under way now though, and it's time again to review the future predictions.

Here are the eCommerce trends tipped to be big for 2016.


Continued Growth in Online Markets

The good news is most industry leaders are predicting the strong growth seen in 2015 will continue well into 2016.

And like last year, mobile it tipped to generate the largest part of this growth.


It's all about the Customer Experience

Creating and improving the customer experience will be the main area of focus for eCommerce in 2016.

The marketing strategy of eStores will no longer target increasing the number of single transactions.

Instead, marketing strategies will focus on managing customer expectation and satisfaction every step of the way, including post-purchase.

Cheaper prices and free shipping will no longer be the differentiator between competing eStores.

Instead, online shopping will become a journey or an experience akin to shopping at Tiffany's.


Expansion of Marketing Automation

Over the past couple of years, e-Mail marketing has been almost completely automated.

It is not uncommon now for eStores to send a targeted e-Mail to a customer based upon particular activities, such as if the customer added items to their cart, and then left the website without completing the order.

This year, more marketing channels will become automated in a similar fashion.

Elements of a website such as banners, landing pages, even product descriptions will become automated to serve customized content targeted to the individual.

For example, I might return to a website several times to look at a particular product. The next time I return, I am served a banner advertising a promotional discount on that specific item, a discount just for me.

This level of automation is a tool to provide even greater personalized shopping experiences for customers.


More Social Media Selling

Selling on social media last year was been more like marketing and advertising, rather than a point-of-sale.

Several social media platforms tested and partly launched tools in 2015 to allow their users to buy products within the platform itself, without needing to visit the retailer's website.

In 2016, we will see these features become available to more retailers in more countries.

Soon it will become commonplace to see a post or a tweet with a Buy Now button.


A Higher Quality of Content

High-quality content will become a differentiator to attract and engage customers.

Faster Internet speeds have allowed video to become a viable method to deliver content. Product reviews, demonstrations, and instructional videos will become popular forms of content.

Website content strategy itself will become more about storytelling and entertainment.


In Conclusion

Prepare for 2016 to be another significant year for eCommerce.

Barriers that separated online shopping from traditional shopping will dissolve as new technology becomes viable and affordable to traditional retailers.

This will enable traditional retailers to compete in online markets again as the advantages that eRetailers have enjoyed up until now become less of an advantage.

Online shopping has now become just another part of shopping in general.



Resources:


It's the Final Curtain for Adobe Flash Player

It's the Final Curtain for Adobe Flash Player

It's the Final Curtain for Adobe Flash Player

Flash content is now in the last stages of becoming a relic of Internet past after another major web browser dropped native support of the Flash Player plug-in just last month.

While it isn't the final nail-in-the-coffin for Flash Player just yet, it is the final notice for developers and advertisers that still use Flash Player to deliver their content.

Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox web browsers dropped native support for the Flash Player plug-in long ago, forcing users to change their browser security settings and update the plug-in regularly to view Flash content. And now Google Chrome has joined the group with the latest version of the Chrome web browser also natively blocking Flash content.

None of this has come unexpectedly to marketers and developers in the industry, however.

The end for Adobe Flash Player became almost guaranteed after Apple founder Steve Jobs famously announced that Apple iOS devices would not be supporting Flash Player (and therefore, Flash content) due to the poor reliability and poor security that Adobe Flash Player was well-known for.

Without going into unnecessary detail, the demise of Flash Player comes down to the capabilities of HTML and web browsers finally catching up to those that Flash enabled decades ago - without the performance issues and security holes that also come with using Flash Player.

Now, in a very similar fashion to the infamous web browser Internet Explorer, Flash Player is set to hold a place in Internet history as an example of what was once considered to be ground-breaking technology that helped to push the Internet to where it is today.

In the early 1990's, Macromedia Flash (as it was known at the time) truly introduced the world to the new possibilities that the Internet could provide. The Internet shifted suddenly from being a static medium, with content made up of text and images only, to something that could now potentially compete with the likes of television.

A graphics and animation editor all-in-one, the simple to learn nature of the Macromedia Flash application allowed people to create animations and interactive multimedia easily, without the need to understand computer programming languages. Even entire websites were developed in Flash.

Flash movies and Flash games quickly became a popular form of content, as it was difficult to deliver content in other formats across the Internet at the time that was comparable in quality (particularly video content).

Flash also became the platform of choice for marketers and advertisers, as it allowed for the production and delivery of banner advertisements that were higher in quality than anything else available.

Still, as with all technology, Flash Player has inevitably become redundant and is being cast aside for a faster, better, stronger replacement.

It is important to note that the Adobe Flash application itself is not dead, however, and has evolved to allow developers to produce animations and multimedia applications using the newer platforms such as HTML5 Canvas and WebGL.

In memory to Flash Player and the Flash content era that came with it, we share our favourite portal website that was one of the original pioneers in all things Flash - Newgrounds.



Further Reading:


The Secret to Deciphering 'Quality Content'

The Secret to Deciphering 'Quality Content'

The Secret to Deciphering 'Quality Content'

The war between Search Engines (read Google) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) practitioners, which has raged since Google's birth in 2000, shifted focus this year - and not only Google Users, but all website visitors are the winners.

In the early days SEO was much simpler and SEO practitioners had the upper hand: The primary requirements to improve Google performance were simply to focus on the density of relevant keywords and then gather as many inbound links as possible.

Alas, that resulted in websites filled with low quality content - repetitive keywords and phrases - and countless links between unrelated websites that may have improved Google performance, but delivered little value to Google Users or website visitors in general.

Google's evolution, driven by the goal of delivering the most relevant search results possible, led to the release earlier this year of the Quality Update.

This newest weapon in the Google arsenal has forced SEO practitioners down a new path, and the by-products are an overall improvement to the quality of Google search results and the quality of website content generally.


What Is The Quality Update?

Around May of this year, Google started to give more weight to pages that it deemed to have a higher quality of content.

The technical details of how Google determines the quality of content is still being debated, but as one expert has put it: "we do know that it wants to provide users with the best information possible."Source

In a nutshell, it means shifting your focus away from creating content for Google, and towards creating content for your visitors.

Google explicitly states this as the first point in their article Steps to a Google-friendly site - "...give visitors the information they're looking for: Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do...".


What Is Quality Content?

When first hearing the term "quality content", you could be forgiven for thinking that you need to hire the services of Shakespeare to write the content of your website.

There are many, many (many) articles about how to go about writing quality content, but let us save you some pain and share some insight.

The Internet is the world's largest resource of information. You can search for anything, at any time, and get an answer to whatever question you may have.

Having such a vast volume of information available to us at the click of a button, however, has overwhelmed us, and it has changed the way we sort through and process information.

Now, instead of reading through content line for line until we find the answer we're after, we skim across it impatiently; and if we can't find our answer quickly, we move onto the next website to scour through their content instead.

This puts some weight on the amount of time we spend on a single page of a website, because if you've spent more than 30 seconds on a page, clearly there is something of value to you on that page.

And there's the secret to deciphering the term "quality content" - It's actually "valuable content".

Create content that is meaningful to readers, that's valuable to readers.

Readers will come back to content that is valuable to them in some way. Readers will share content they think will be valuable to others.


How to Create Valuable Content

As Google outline in their Webmaster Academy course, the content of your website should be useful and informative, credible, and engaging.

Microsoft's search engine, Bing, have boiled their guidelines down a little further, breaking the aspects of content quality into three pillars - Authority (how trustworthy is the content), Utility (how useful is the content), and Presentation (how well-presented is the content and how easy is it to find it).

The simple fact is, creating content that keeps people reading (or watching) is all you need to do to create valuable content.

And here is where you can think outside of the box. Your content could be informative, or it could be entertaining, or it could be convenient, or a mix of all three.

So while your competitor may have articles fit for a peer-reviewed journal on their website, your content could still be valuable if visitors find it more convenient, or more entertaining.

As an example, think of the numerous Do-It-Yourself related videos on Youtube.

There may thousands of videos that demonstrate exactly the same topic - how to change a tyre for example - but you can find videos that only cover the basics of how to change a tyre with just as many views as a video that shows every single step with detailed explanations.

A video may be just as popular if it is a little more entertaining, or if it covers the steps of the task a little faster (more convenient).

Different audiences will put differing levels of value on different formats and structures of content, which is why you can still create valuable content.

To help you to create valuable / quality content for your website, I've gathered a list of articles that cover the topic in more detail.

They all provide a different angle to decipher and understand the term 'quality content', and how to tackle the task.


Great Articles About Creating Valuable Content:



What's Your Opinion? How do you define 'quality content'? Join the conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.