ACAChoices.com – Calculate your insurance premiums under Obamacare

Whether you call the new healthcare law Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, one thing is certain. We are all talking about it.  We may disagree about the pros and cons of the law but it’s almost certain to impact us all.

We had questions about the law ourselves and set out to fully understand the significance of it.  What we found out was that there is a lot of incorrect information being spewed as gospel from TV talking heads, bloggers, and columnists.

So we wanted to help.  The result of our efforts is ACAChoices.com.

ACAChoices.com allows users to easily determine what their insurance acaChoicesScreenpremiums would be under the new law.  It calculates any government subsidies that apply and provide the user a selection of Insurance Plans that fit his or her requirements. It also provides details of the plans including hospital and doctor visit co-pays as well as co-pays for your prescription drugs.

We are also hoping to connect the site to insurance agents and brokers who can help customers answer questions and even sign up for their choice of plans.

If you are an insurance agent or broker and you are interested in seeing how ACAChoices.com can help drive business your way, visit ACAChoices.com or email us at info@smallbizdepot.com.

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Two New Websites from SBD Custom Websites

This last week has been productive for SBD. Two websites were brought online for two very happy customers.  The two websites are very different, not only in subject matter or target market, but also the technologies used.

Moonlighting Detective & Security Services

moonliteHomePageMoonlighting Detectives is, as the name suggests, a detective agency.  For us old enough to remember the old “Moonlighting” TV show ( starring a very young Bruce Willis and the glamorous Sybil Shepard ) the name is quite appropriate.

Located in Kalispell Montana, Moonlighting Detectives has been providing private, government and corporate clients with confidential, comprehensive and professional investigative services since 1990. The provide undercover and surveillance services for leading law firms, insurance companies, corporate, individual and government interests all over the Northwest United States and Canada. The also offer Bail bonds service to those folks unfortunate enough to need it.

Starting from scratch, SBD designed a fully responsive website that will provide Moonlighting an internet presence not just on PC’s and laptops, but also tablets and Smartphones.

The Tidewater Horse Council

THCFrontPageThe second customer, the Tidewater Horse Council, was organized by a group of Tidewater Virginia horse enthusiasts in 1978 and incorporated in 1980. THC is neither breed nor discipline specific. Its purpose is to progressively develop the well-rounded horse person while promoting owner responsibility, safety, horse management and all styles of riding. It is an educational and legislative arm of the horse industry in the Hampton Roads area that benefits all facets of the horse community.

The problem we faced with THC was a very limited budget.  So we put together a website based on WordPress and an existing but slightly modified theme and a suite of plugins needed to provide the functionality they desired.

We brought the whole project in at under $200 – a quality website for a bargain basement price.

All in all, a very satisfying week.

 

 

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Responsive Web Design

2012 was a watershed year for the personal computer market. Sales of PC’s have declined and the percentage of internet traffic due to PC’s has fallen to below 50%. Accounting for this trend is the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones. Over 200 million tablets were shipped in 2012 and are expected to surpass laptop numbers in 2013. In addition, almost half (49.7%) of U.S. mobile subscribers now own Smartphones, as of February 2012.

Needed: A Mobile Website for a Mobile World

Having a great mobile website should be the priority. Most websites, however, show the same content and the same layout regardless of the shape and size of the device’s screen. This type of website design requires users to zoom in and out and to scroll up and down and left and right to view all of the content of the website.

But which of the thousands of mobiles devices should you target your website design? The obvious answer is a website that works not only on desktop and laptop computers, but on all tablets and Smartphones as well.

The Solution: A Responsive Web Design

In the (recent) past, this has meant creating multiple websites. But trying to manage multiple websites in a time of rapid technological advances in mobile computing is a little like playing Whack-a-Mole. To address the need to manage web presence across multiple devices, there is a growing trend toward websites (referred to as Responsive web design) that can mold themselves to whatever device being used. SBD Custom Websites has embraced responsive web design as an essential part of its design philosophy.

A responsive custom website molds itself to the screen it is viewed on, which allows your users to interact with the site without having to stop to zoom and scroll. Responsive websites are designed to format correctly on any screen size. The site is fluid, re-sizing itself to properly fit any size screen. One site works for any platform. Not only does your website work on every major web browser, but on every major device type as well. When a user views your website on their large desktop monitor, then again on their Smartphone or tablet, the experience is similar between the devices and the site is just as usable / functional in both places.

A great responsive web design opens up an untapped market for website owners.

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Three Secrets to Website Success

We’ve all seen the following scene played out in the movies or our favorite TV drama.

A twenty-something wunderkind starts a new internet-based business and launches his new website.  As fellow actors hover around the computer screen, the “hits” counter begins to measure traffic to the site.   1 ..  2 .. 5 .. 10 .. 50 .. 100 .. 1000 .. 10,000 ..  Within a few minutes this wondrous new website is garnering hundreds of thousands of visitors every hour.

Well that little vignette bears scant similarity to what happens in real life.  In reality most websites get very little traffic. We’re talking less than 100 hits a day – if that.

Out of the more than 56 million websites on the web, fewer than 500,000 of them have any real traffic to speak of. Another way of saying this: There are over 55 ½ million websites on the Internet that are complete failures because they have no real traffic.  A poor performing website is the rule, not the exception.

Quite simply, a website with little or no traffic is a failure. Without traffic on your site, then how could anyone ever contact you or hire you? How can they find out about your product? How would they know where you are located and that you have the exact thing that they are looking for?

There are 3 reasons why most websites fail:

  • Bad content
  • Flawed website design or implementation
  • Inadequate promotion

Bad website content

This should be no big surprise. Your customers use the internet to find answers. Successful websites have information that people want, presented in a way that is easily digestible and believable.

Websites that fail frequently have stale, stagnant and boring content. If your site isn’t updated frequently, the information it presents can be out of date and thereby useless to your audience. Plus, no one has the time to invest in reading old, out-of-date, useless information.

Many websites compound the mistake by bombarding the visitor with reams of text presenting a blizzard of messages, sometimes conflicting, and completely overwhelming the visitor. Your visitor doesn’t have the time or desire to try and find the information they seek that may or may not be buried in the text.

Typos, bad grammar, misspelled words are another reason websites fail.  In the age of spell checkers and grammar checkers, these problems should not exist.

Flawed website design or implementation

Creating a website is a highly technical endeavor. The designer needs to understand and balance the roles of text, graphics, rich media, and the way users comprehend and interact with websites. The designer needs to be part graphic artist, part software programmer, part writer and part marketer. A designer needs also to understand the role played by search engines.

Websites that fail can have technical issues that make it difficult to use. For example, we’ve all visited websites that crash our computers or are so slow to load that we give up and move on. Studies show that today’s internet users expect a website’s pages to load in 2 to 3 seconds. Longer than that and potential customers start abandoning your site to find the info they need somewhere else.

Poorly designed websites can also display poorly on certain web browsers. If a site was designed to look good only on Firefox but looks bad on Internet Explorer, significant parts of a website’s potential customers could be lost.

Many amateur designers sabotage their own websites by their choices of colors, fonts and images. A “busy” background image can make difficult to read text, for instance.

Finally, for a website to be successful it must be easy to find and that means it must be search engine friendly.  If search engines like Google, cannot “index” your website, no one will be able to find it.

Inadequate promotion

One of the most common traits of under-performing websites is that they are inadequately promoted. Amateur web designers wrongly believe that their job is done once the website is launched.

In truth, the job begins when the site is launched.  Once the site is launched, the user needs to let the world know that it is there.
Successful sites have the following in common:

  • They are optimized for search engines. That means, among other things, that each page is constructed highlighting carefully chosen keywords and phrases.
  • Website content is updated frequently with fresh information chosen to benefit potential customers.
  • Most importantly, successful websites to seen as a part of a web presence strategy,  including significant usage of social media.

Conclusion

A website can be a tremendous tool for any business if it is designed and promoted properly. This starts with consulting experts in the field.  Just because tools exist that allow anyone to create a website, that doesn’t mean anyone can be a successful website designer.

SBD Website Design

 

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New Website for Diamond Aire

Just completed a new website for Diamond Aire, aircraft upgrade specialists. Time and funds were of the essence so We used the WordPress CMS software to create a beautiful site in less than a day.
We located and installed 2 plugins to make this a very nice WP website.
The WP Photo Album Plus by J.N. Breetvelt a.k.a OpaJaap was used to manage all the photos on the site. This plugin gives you the ability to create multiple photo albums and to insert either whole albums or individual photos anywhere on the site by using simple insertion codes.
The 2nd plugin, WP-Table Reloaded by Tobias Bäthge allowed us to create price lists for the various aircraft modification services. Combining these 2 plugins gives the user the ability to manage his website going forward.
To finish it off, We used the Frantic Theme by WPThemes NZ. We modified it by adding an image of an Apache aircraft in the header.

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