The big, important stuff
- Your website runs on the fastest available hardware and software on the market
You probably know from first hand experience, the speed of a website is critical. With ever-faster cell phones, bandwidth and web infrastructure, the bottleneck is now the web server. From February 2015, each new website we deliver runs on a physical computer with dedicated SSD storage, an Intel E5 core processor, and the most up-to-date software available. In December of 2015, we migrated to yet a newer machine. Your website will have the fastest website response time possible.
We use the NGinX web server — a hardware-optimized web server program — running on the Linux operating system, and the military-grade Content Management System (CMS) Drupal to build every website. For 99+% of the time, your website is the only thing the web server is doing, which means it will be faster than any website you've ever owned or experienced.
Most hosting companies pack thousands of websites onto a single server with cheaper, traditional disk drives and outdated hardware. With us, your website will run blazingly fast.
We also use the most reliable hosting services company we could find, based in the Bay Area of Northern California. We pay a bit more for this high-end service — because it's worth it — and we include that hosting service in our fixed-price monthly package.
We list this benefit first because Google announced that it now favors fast websites, and that it punishes slow ones, in search results. (See for yourself: Search for the word "speed" on this Google page).
- Your website is fully responsive
Responsive, in the web sense, is a website that looks and behaves superbly on any device. It adapts appropriately to whatever device it is being experienced on.
Most websites on the Internet are not Responsive. That is, they are oblivious to the visitor's device, and present the same picture to everyone. That's because they are built primarily for desktop viewing, and mobile devices are an afterthought. At Scanlan and Associates, we architect each website from the beginning to behave according to the device a visitor is using to visit your website. So it looks great on a smart phone, a tablet, and a desktop, as well as on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
See how Google explains the importance of responsiveness here, or test your current website now, using Google tools.
We list responsiveness as one of the two most important characteristics of your website because search engines promote responsive websites in search results, and visitors to your website expect nothing less.
Most website owners pay little attention to the notion of 'security' when it comes to their website, but website security has grown in importance for several reasons. Determined and capable hackers work round-the-clock using automated tools, combing the Internet for vulnerable websites, and when they find one, they do bad things. At the same time, website technology has gotten more complicated, offering those same hackers an increasing number of opportunities to make trouble. From password guessing to out-of-date modules, hackers try everything to break into your site and deposit back-links, adware, malware, videos, and all manner of objects to server their needs. Or they can simply destroy your data and put your website out of action.
We employ three levels of backups. We also backup the backups, and every month we do a Disaster Recovery dry-run of individual websites to make sure we can recover all of our clients' websites in the event of the unthinkable.
We block access by certain countries based on their preponderence of hacking attempt origins. (E.g. Ukraine, Poland, Moldova).
Our CMS core objects are protected by a firewall even within the web server itself, so even if a 'break in' is experienced, the website's functioning cannot be interfered with. It's like having your jewels in a safe, as well as locks and alarms on all your doors and windows.
Our monitoring service checks each server every five minutes, 24-7. If a site cannot be reached, an alarm is sent to us and we respond immediately.
Together, our security model provides what is called a 'hardened server' environment for all our clients' websites.
Other important stuff
- Optimized for Search Engines
Every piece of structure we put in place is done with search engines in mind. We do pretty much everything except the actually writing of blogs, and we work with each client to make sure all of the content they create is fully available to search engines. That means good page titles, keywords, headers, URLs, sitemaps, image names, Google Console integration, and countless other things.
- Your website in every language
We don't actually translate your website content into dozens of languages, or build multiple websites. We simply use the Google Translate API to make your website available to non-English speakers.
Let's say you provide laundry services to apartments in the Manhattan area. When a Spanish-speaking visitor comes to your site, their browser will ask them if they'd "prefer to view the website in Spanish", and it asks them in the language setting of their device, so you don't have to worry about your multi-lingual marketplace. Optionally, visitors can view your website by manually selecting one of your preferred languages.
- Contact forms
Embedded forms to gather visitor contact information that update directly into your Contact Management System (ConstantContact.com, iContact.com, MailChimp.com, Aweber.com, others). We'll help you set up an account if you need one.
- Google Analytics
If you want to see how many visitors come to your website, from what regions of the world, and what kind of devices they are using, Google Analytics will be of interest to you. It offers many, many more insights, far too many to list here.
- Hot-linked phone numbers
When a visitor to your website visits you on the web using their smartphone, your telephone number pops up already-dialled for them. All the visitor has to do is press Call, and the phonecall can begin. They don't have to type the number in again. It might seem like a small thing, but if you want website visitors to call you, this makes it easier for them.
- Easier for search engines
We use a module that offers an up-to-date sitemap to search engines. Search engines therefore don't have to crawl your website for all the available pages. Instead, they look at one file that lists all changes. When new pages are published on your website, or others are flagged as having been changed, the search engine can see that instantly. The module also pushes the data automatically to search engines if and when that makes sense.
- The best Content Management System available
Do you know what the most attacked website on the web is? All political opinion aside, we chose the Drupal CMS for all our websites -- in part -- because it was the one used to build The White House's website, the most attacked website on the Internet. The security of Drupal is unparalleled. As well as the security aspects of Drupal, it's very configurable. That's probably not something you have to worry about directly, but it allows us to make just about any change to your website you ask for. Drupal is "WordPress for grownups".
- Google+ business page setup
Whether or not you're a fan of GooglePlus, the reality is, it is tied directly into the Google search engine. Your GooglePlus Business Page needs to be set up correctly, and verified by Google. This helps towards getting your search rankings in good shape so new customers can find you. We set it up for you -- or fix the one you have, if you prefer -- to make sure you're getting your best shot at search results.
- Facebook Business Page
Facebook is often (but not always) a critical factor in any business-to-consumer business. Getting it set up correctly is essential. We'll make sure it's done right.
- LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instalgram
Depending on where your clients live on the Internet, one of more of these social media communities may also need to be set up.
- Static content
Many small business owners struggle to come up with the half-dozen pieces of necessary static content on their website. The About Us page, Contact Us, and Home page are three of the most common ones every website must have. We help get those written properly, or refine what you already have, so that visitors get the right message. There is also a Privacy Statement (see below) that needs to be in place, as Google frowns upon websites that lack one. Visitors, too, may appreciate that you at least recognize the importance of their privacy when they do business with you on your website.
We also help our clients work through the production of a new logo, positioning statements and services descriptions.
Few businesses can get away completely from having a blog on their website. We set it up so that our clients' blog postings are given the maximum power in search results.
- Privacy statement
Google mandates that your website contain a Privacy Statement. We'll make one for you, and we'll put it in the right place on your website. From there, you can change it as needed.
Excellent photography and imagery is critical to every website, even though it's one of the most neglected issues on small business websites. For more and more businesses, the first image on the slideshow of their home page provides the very first impression for a potential client. Although we are not photographers, we work with some excellent professionals in the field. We'll help you get this part done right.
- Google Maps integration
We connect your physical address to your website visitor's GPS so that it's easier to find you when they are, for example, stuck in traffic.
Do you know whether your current website is backed up or not? What would happen if your website got wiped out because of a fire in your hosting company's server room, or if someone hacked into it and deleted all your data?
We back up everything, so that we can re-create your website in the event of the unthinkable. We also do random, Disaster Recovery dry-runs of individual client websites to make sure we can always recover everything in the event of the unthinkable.
- A hundred other things
We could go through the hundred other things we do quietly in the background, but you probably get the picture by now.
- Someone to call
We are always a phone call away.