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March 29, 2013

Minnesota fisheries operator sentenced for putting road through wetland

Filed under: Minneapolis News — alicepham @ 9:38 am

A longtime fisheries operator in west-central Minnesota has been sentenced to probation and ordered to remove from his property a road that he built on a federally protected wetland.

James Bosek, 49, of Garfield, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Fergus Falls to two years’ probation and fined $2,500. However, Judge Leo Brisbois said he would waive the fine if the road is removed and the wetland restored within 12 months.

Brisbois told Bosek, who was convicted in January, that the restoration is the only way to “undo the injury to the public interest.”

In a court filing ahead of sentencing, Bosek had offered to “alter the structure of the road to make it less harmful.”

In convicting Bosek of a misdemeanor under the National Wildlife Refuge System Act, the judge wrote that the Douglas County property owner knew of an easement “in perpetuity” that the U.S. Interior Department bought in 1963. The easement was still in force in 2001, when Bosek purchased the land, where he also lives.

Bosek built the road on the eastern edge of his property without gaining permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency discovered the five-year-old road in 2008 while making an unrelated visit.

A biologist for the Fish and Wildlife Service testified that the road damaged a protected native habitat for ducks and other waterfowl. Bosek refused to remove the road and restore the wetland, leading to the charge against him.

Bosek said the road was built as part of a larger project to put in a 10-acre pond for walleye that would be raised for stocking lakes. Without the road, he added, he would not have vehicle access to 80 of his acres.

Bosek also said that the project created 40 acres of marsh for nesting ducks and migrating geese, while the road has compromised just two-tenths of an acre of wetland.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

Source: (612) 590-8080

For Minnesota web design firm, please call: (612) 590-8080

 

March 18, 2013

6 Mistakes People Often Make When Choosing a Web Designer

Filed under: web design — Tags: , — alicepham @ 10:11 am

Many web design service providers have popped up in the last five years. In some ways, this has made it tougher for people to find high-quality, experienced web designers. You’ll find many different styles, skills, prices, and abilities among web designers. In order to get a professional website developed and designed for your organization, you should seek one with a solid, proven track record to take on your project. Here are 6 things you should avoid when selecting a web design firm for your project:

  1. Choosing a web designer who is still using old HTML code to build websites: Today, in order for your website show up uniformly on newer versions of internet browsers, computer operating systems, and mobile devices; your website needs to be built with the most up-to-date coding; HTML5 or newer. It would be a major pain in the neck (and wallet) to have to re-design your website after you’ve worked hard to develop a new site with a designer who uses outdated code.
  2. Choosing a web designer who suggests using a lot of flash content on your site: Since Apple computers and mobile devices do not support Flash, your Flash website will not display fully when Apple users pull up your website on their devices. It is un-wise for any web designers to suggest using significant amounts of Flash on client’s websites.
  3. Using a template for your website: Most of us have tried our best to come up with a unique name for our organization to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. So it makes sense to do the same, and create a unique website to establish your online web presence. It is not a wise move to choose a website template, which has been duplicated and re-sold thousands of times online, as your organization’s online identity.
  4. Use your cousin’s friend, or your friend’s cousin, to design your site: I have encountered a number of clients who started out their web design project with someone they knew personally or through family. Usually the idea is that working with someone you know will save you money. This situation often ends up with a half-baked website that doesn’t meet the client’s expectations, or the project drags on for way too long. I am a big believer in the power of referrals, but you should research carefully to make sure you hire a web designer who can handle your project. Research includes viewing the designer’s work portfolio, reading their past clients’ testimonials, and reviewing their web design prices. Referrals are great, but you need to do your homework to pick out a qualified website designer.
  5. Choose the cheapest web designer to design your site: If you are looking for website designers that can meet your expectations, do not let price be the only criteria in your selection process, no matter how tight your budget is. It’d be better for you to work out some kind of re-payment plan with a qualified web designer or wait until you can save up enough money to design your site. Paying money for a poorly designed and developed site will cost you more time, and money, in the long run. When a designer says that he will take on your project for 1/5 the price of other web design quotes from other web design companies, you should question whether that designer really knows what kind of project they are getting into.
  6. Choose a web designer who does not have a service agreement contract in place: Quite often new clients come to me frustrated because their previous designer told them that they do not own the domain and/or the website which they had paid for a number of years ago when they hired their previous web designer to set everything up for them. When that designer built the website and registered the domain for the client in the beginning, there was no service agreement contract in place that stated that the client owns these properties. Now, when the client decides to leave, the designer claims that the client merely rented everything from the designer, and that client does not own anything. You can avoid this by always asking whether your prospective web designer has a service agreement contract in place for you, as a client. Most importantly, ask him/her if anywhere in the contract states that you own a copyright of your website design and your selected website domain name. Only when you have a copy of the signed contract in your hands should you go forward with the project.

There are other “red flags” you should watch out for when choosing a web designer, but above are 6 major and common mistakes to avoid. For more information on what makes a website a “professional grade” website, please go to www.proweb365.com/10-tips-professional-grade-website.

March 11, 2013

How to Customize and Manage Your E-commerce Website for Maximum Results

Filed under: Internet Marketing,web design — Tags: , — alicepham @ 10:01 am

Since your E-commerce website is the first way customers will learn about your business, you should customize it intelligently to capture viewers’ attention, and persuade them to buy or refer your products to their family and friends (either through email or social media). When “potential customers” land on your website, within 60 seconds they should know what you sell, and why they should buy it from you. To achieve this, you’ll definitely want a professional web design firm to custom build your E-commerce website based on both your products and services, and your business’ needs, at every level. From the look of your site to how it functions, your website should provide a positive, user-friendly experience. No one likes websites that are unattractive or are hard to use, and not only that; people’s attention spans and patience are short as they browse websites.

Besides people, search engine spiders are also a key audience for you online. In order to crawl and index your website (periodically), search engine spiders need to be able to read your website easily. This is one more reason why it’s very important that you have a professional web designer custom build your website, with clean code that allows spiders to crawl your site thoroughly. A poorly designed and coded website can be a revenue killer for an E-commerce business.

Even if “potential customers” are impressed with your website the first time they visit, your job does not end there. You have to create a smart navigation structure, (especially on your HOME page) to entice customers to delve deeply into your product’s detail pages. This means your product’s detail pages should be set up to both showcase your products attractively, and to position related or complementary products nearby as well. This allows you to easily up-sell your products. It’s important to make your potential sales pages both very easy to navigate, and information-rich, so they provide any information customers might want to know about your products, quickly.

Today, many E-commerce businesses often mistake “leads” for “sales” which leads to lost potential revenue. Your site should be designed to take your “potential leads” all the way to your product-detail-pages and keep them there. Smart marketing messages and promotions can entice your “potential leads” to purchase, and prominent “call-to-action” buttons (“buy now” buttons) can help you convert sales more quickly. Most importantly, make it as simple and painless as possible for potential customers to pay you online. Your end goal is, of course, to turn as many leads, into direct sales, and these details are all important to reach that goal.

To provide a better experience on your E-Commerce website and to increase revenue, you should learn as much as you can about your customers. From their demographics, to where they were just prior to landing on your site, to how they behave on your site. This information will provide insightful feedback to help you tailor your website layout, functions and products to your customers’ needs. Here are two tools you can use to gain insightful knowledge about your customers:

1) Google Analytics:  This is a powerful tool that not only allows you to measure your site’s traffic, it also lets you know where each of your visitors came from. This will help you to better market your business to customers based on their location, culture, or even language. Google Analytics is a free tool and provides many insightful reports.

2) CrazyEgg. This tool allows you to see how customers behave on your website. CrazyEgg’s “Heat-Map” reports show which page or section of a page customers visited and where they clicked on your site. It also shows which sites your visitors came from such as Facebook, Twitter, Google.com, Bing.com, Yahoo.com, etc. These reports can help inform your decisions on how to layout your webpages to best meet your customers’ needs. It also helps you decide which websites you may want to invest more in, based on who brings the most referral traffic to your site. CrazyEgg is a paid tool, but for only about $9 per month, it is well worth all the feedback you’ll get on how customers behave on your site.

To effectively market your business to customers online, and to successfully convert new leads to sales, these are critical steps to take while developing and establishing your E-commerce website. If you need professional assistance to get started or want to learn more about our E-commerce web design prices, contact our Minneapolis web design firm at: (612) 590-8080.

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