Web Design

Rodeo Management adds the FCA

Fresh on the heels of adding the NCJRA to our growing list of Rodeo Management SystemTM clients, we have added the Foothills Cowboy Association.

While just coming off the peak of the workload of a rush implementation for the NCJRA, we received confirmation from the FCA that they were now ready to go and asked “How soon can we be ready?”.  Given that they were already 3 rodeos into the season, we knew we needed to pull up our boots and roll up our sleeves to get them ready as soon as possible.  Like every rodeo association we have worked with, there were a number of special features needed.  From the way they charge out their fees to the way they calculate their payouts, there was a moderately sized list of customization’s that we tackled quickly to get them up and running.

We are used to custom requirements, in fact we built the Rodeo Management SystemTM with the ability to add rodeo association specific rules and routines.  What was most interesting about the FCA was that they had already completed 3 of the 2017 season rodeos so the implementation was to be in-season and we needed to get prior rodeo data imported as well so that season standings, payouts, and more cold be determined.  In order to qualify for rodeo finals, rodeo contestants need to participate in a certain percentage of events through the season and accumulate enough points through placing in those events.  So we built a few import routines and rapid data entry methods to speed up the process.

We are now mid season with the FCA and running nicely with the RMS.  As we are happy to report with each and every customer who joins, the FCA has a number of enhancements that they have indicate will make the RMS even more valuable to them, which then become available, and more valuable, to all RMS customers.  These customization’s include special financial reports and/or features that make data management more efficient.

We are happy to oblige knowing that each feature added, each improvement, makes for a better Rodeo Management SystemTM.

Rodeo Management adds NCJRA

We are thrilled to announce that we have added the Northern California Junior Rodeo Association to the growing list of clients for our Rodeo Management SystemTM. Bringing on this client has been a phenomenal experience and because a Junior Rodeo association operates somewhat differently we had a number of new customized features to add based on their requirements. But the fun part was the timing. We received the call on Thursday, “Can we be ready for our next rodeo, Saturday?”. Without hesitation we answered “Yes”. Then working frantically over the next 48 hours on both ends, custom programming by us and data entry by the NCJRA, we were able to display the rodeo draw and enter/post results by the weekend.  The extensive use of data imports was a huge asset to upload the member list and much of the data for their list of entrants into events.

The list of new features was extensive.  From events that are scored in non-standard ways to events involving Junior and Senior members, we built a number of subroutines and enhancements that are now available for our other associations to benefit from.  In addition to the ‘essential’ customized features that were added, the perspectives coming from new clients have also offered up suggestions for new notification enhancements that we have on the drawing board for later this season.

The NCJRA is using the full suite of features from RMS, including online entry, payments via PayPal, the Draw Generation Engine, payout calculations, full public display of schedules, draws, results, and standings, full membership management, plus all the back end admin reports.

One of the more interesting enhancements was the addition of the new Day All-Around Standings which is a points based system specific to the rodeo date (or weekend) that ranks competitors within Senior Boys, Senior Girls, Junior Boys and Junior Girls based on accumulated points across all qualifying events.

With each new client, we uncover a new set of requirements and their ‘way of doing things’ that improves the value, power and flexibility of the Rodeo Management SystemTM.

 

Powerful.Flexible.Automated

Saskatchewan Mobile First Website Data

The Saskatchewan internet and search landscape is shifting to mobile devices.  We have compiled a study of Saskatchewan based websites and the comparison of traffic (user sessions) access the websites by desktop or by mobile device.  The websites used in this study form a cross section of industries, company size, and is split between B2C and B2B marketers.

Definition of Mobile Device

When we did our comparisons, we treated tablets as desktop computing devices.  Our rationale is that the manner in which tablets are used plus the display size tend more towards a desktop computer than a mobile device, that is, a smart phone.  From our own anecdotal observations plus those reported in numerous other publications, tablets tend to be mobile around the house or around the office.  They are an extension of the desktop browsing experience, chosen more for form factor than for true mobile capabilities.  As a result, our numbers for mobile then may be somewhat understated as compared to other reports which may lump tablets and smart phones together as mobile*.

Business to Consumer Mobile First Website Data

The overall ratio of mobile internet access to desktop in the B2C companies studied was 41% mobile to 59% desktop*.  Some company websites reached as high as 61% and 59% of all traffic from mobile phones.  For these companies, a Mobile First strategy is imperative as otherwise they risk exposing over 1/2 of their user base to a poor user experience.

SK B2C websites mobile vs desktop

 

Business to Business Mobile First Website Data

Surprisingly, the overall ratio of mobile internet access to desktop in the B2B companies studied was also 41% mobile to 59% desktop*.  (I had secretly hoped there would be a sizeable difference in the stats.)  One company website reached as high as 78% all traffic from mobile phones while several others were extremely balanced at 50% to 50%.

 

SK B2B websites mobile vs desktop

 

Saskatchewan Mobile First Compared to the Rest of the World

It was reported that in November of 2016, the world reached the tipping point of greater than 50% of internet use by mobile as compared to desktop.

* If tablets were included with smart phones in the mobile category, then the percentages of total mobile to total desktop would be 44% to 56% for B2C and 43% to 57% for B2B.

Why Use WordPress? Plug-Ins!

We Love WordPress

WordPress is a tremendous website publishing platform for our customers.  For customers who are only moderately computer literate, managing content such as pages, blog posts and images is straightforward and can be handled without a web programmer, a big cost savings for many customers.  On top of being an easy to use content management system, WordPress offers thousands of third-party plug-ins that extend and enhance the capabilities of WordPress.

WordPress Plug-Ins

Another reason why WordPress is a great website publishing tool are the thousands of plug-ins available.  Plug-Ins are additional blocks of code that have typically been built by programmers to solve a specific problem that website developers face.  The plug-ins range from simple image gallery display systems to extremely complex e-commerce systems.  Many plug-ins are free, some offer a paid premium option for even more functionality.  Some plug-ins are only available as a paid option.

If you are loading up a plug-in, and it has a free option and a paid premium option, I recommend that in most circumstance, choose the paid premium options.  Most premium options are $50 or less and the price will be well worth it.  Often plug-ins are distributed free, and users are simply asked to donate to the author.  You are not required to donate to use the plug-in, but please consider sending them $15 to $20.  It’s a small price to pay for a block of code that would likely take weeks or months to develop.

Plug-Ins Add Functionality

WordPress themes can offer a wide range of designs, layouts and functionality.  Where the theme code leaves off, plug-ins add that enhanced functionality that may not be built into the theme.  For example, I have often found a nice, simple theme that has the layout and look I want, but is short on features such as a built-in slideshow or user registration system.  Load up the right plug-in and now both are taken care of.

Plug-In Updates

Stay on top of your WordPress plug-ins but updating them when you are notified of new versions.  When you log in to your WordPress dashboard, if updates are available, you will see a red number next to the Plugins menu item.

wordpress-plugin-updates

Plugin updates are often to repair minor bugs, add new features, or enhance your website’s security.

4 Steps to Starting with WordPress

The Get Started Guide to using WordPress can be summed up in about 4 easy steps (assuming you already have a web hosting account).

  1. Install WordPress to your site
  2. Add your Theme
  3. Add an SEO Plug-In
  4. Add Your Content

Each step has some best practices.  Without getting into deep level WordPress customization, here is what we recommend.

Install WordPress to your site

Most of the world uses the cPanel webhosting platform.  Within the cPanel is a simple button to click to install WordPress.  It will look like this:

wordpress-web-host-softaculous

There are a few simple questions to answer on the form that follows.  Whenever possible, use the defaults that are suggested.

Add Your Theme

Near the bottom of the install form/screen, you can choose the initial Theme to install with WordPress.  A Theme is a set of website design files and functions that work together to add style and feel to your website.  You can scroll through and choose a home page that catches your attention.  Select the Theme, then be sure to add your email address to the box below the INSTALL button (yes, poorly placed), then click the INSTALL button.

Add an SEO Plug-In

Assuming you want to attract visitors to your site, we strongly recommend adding the Yoast SEO Plug-In for WordPress.  It’s simply the best SEO tool available.  Reasonably easy to use and very powerful.

Adding plug-ins is generally a step I would recommend for non-newbies, but follow these steps to add Yoast.  It’s well worth the effort.  More about using Yoast in a later post.

  1. From Your Dashboard, down the left had side, click Plugins – Add New
  2. In the search box, enter Yoast SEO
  3. Click on Yoast SEO and Then Install
  4. After the install, click to activate Yoast using default settings.

wordpress-plugin-install

wordpress-yoast-seo

We will spend more time on Yoast SEO for WordPress in the future, plus much more time on some of the best Plugins for WordPress.

 Add Your Content

Begin adding content to your website by writing a couple of Posts and a couple of Pages.  These are different content types that you will become familiar with.  A Post is what my also be called a blog article or a news post.  This page you are reading now is a Post.  Posts can contain text, images, links videos and are generally used for topical or timely information.  Pages are similar.  WordPress can contain the same types of content but are usually available in the website’s main navigation menu.  The Post articles are usually found in a listing of topics or by dates within a sidebar on the website.  There will be more about how to organize your content at a later date in a later post.  For now, when you add your pages, they will automatically be included in your website navigation menu in the default menu position for your WordPress Theme.

 

This is a beginners guide to getting a WordPress site up and running. We will be posting some more advanced WordPress advice in the near future.  Some future articles include Beginners Guide to WordPress SEO, WordPress Content Organization, WordPress Post Categories and Tags, WordPress Plug-Ins You Must Have plus many more.

SaskatchewanDeerHunting.com Responsive Website

A new site for whitetail deer hunters.  The responsive website SaskatchewanDeerHunting.com is a new web site for deer hunters to find Saskatchewan deer hunting Outfitters.

View the details in our portfolio or see more at SaskatchewanDeerHunting.com

SaskatchewanGooseHunting.com Responsive Website

A new site for goose hunting enthusiasts.  The responsive website SaskatchewanGooseHunting.com is a new web site for goose hunters to find Saskatchewan goose hunting Outfitters.

View the details in our portfolio or see more at SaskatchewanGooseHunting.com

Saskatchewan-Bear-Hunting.com Responsive Website

A new site for bear hunters enthusiasts.  The responsive website Saskatchewan-Bear-Hunting.com is a new web site for moose hunters to find Saskatchewan moose hunting Outfitters.

View the details in our portfolio or see more at Saskatchewan-Bear-Hunting.com

SaskatchewanMooseHunting.com

A new site for outdoors enthusiasts.  The responsive site SaskatchewanMooseHunting.com is a new web site for moose hunters to find Saskatchewan moose hunting Outfitters.

View the details in our portfolio or see more at SaskatchewanMooseHunting.com

Web Development – Responsive Parallax site for Impact Energy

Just launched in January, a newly built website for a new client, Impact Energy.  The website delivers a number of key features such as responsive design, parallax layout, response forms, and many others.  See our portfolio article for more information