We often speak about “extras” here on our website. What exactly do we mean by that?
Extras are web applications that we can add to enhance the functionality of your site. Aside from the basic pages that most websites have, there are plenty of additional packages we can add to your site that will add new features, and keep your visitors coming back regularly. We will outline a few of them here. And of course, we can easily add them to any site that we have designed, or add them to your existing site!
Blog (Web Log): one of the latest success stories on the internet is “blogging”. Now, with readily available software and hosting, just about anyone can get online with their own blog. Rather than use something prepackaged, let us create your own unique blog! We use readily available supported software (such as WordPress) to power your blog, but have the ability to customize and configure it to fit you and/or your company. Blogging is a perfect way to tell the world “what’s new” with your company, or yourself, and is also a great way to publish your own articles on your site. Entire sites can be built around a blogging system as well–since pages are easy to author, a site owner can easily expand their site without any input from a webmaster.
Forum/Discussion Board: a very popular attraction, a busy forum is a great way to generate repeat traffic to your site. Members sign up and post messages of their own, or reply in existing topics. We have experience with some of the most popular forum software packages available today, along with the expertise to customize and “re-skin” them for a new look. We also have several years’ experience in moderating and administrating forums, so we are available for consulting in that area as well. Many forums also offer “portals” that allow you to create a home page based off of your forum’s content, including news articles, announcments and polls. You could essentially power an entire website with a forum system.
Gallery: if you have a lot of images or other media files (such as movies) to share online, you have a choice of using one of the publicly available sites to host them for free (within reason), or you can have a gallery installed on your own site. A gallery will allow you to upload pictures, caption them, and sort them into albums for easy viewing. Some galleries also allow you to let visitors order prints of your pictures, which provides an easy way of selling your work without having to do any of your own transactions.
Wiki: the concept is difficult to explain, but a wiki is a community-powered authoring system for websites. Authorized users can go into the site and freely add, edit or delete pages on their own.
Content Management System (CMS): similar to a blog, a CMS allows a site owner to keep their own site updated with fresh content. A good CMS lets an owner publish pages, add polls, create a list of links, and many other items to power a complete site. CMS systems are good when you have multiple contributors to your site.
Online Catalog and eCommerce: have a product to sell? Consider adding an online catalog to your site. We have two catalog systems we have developed in-house, and have access to others that could also work well for you. Your catalog can be for display only, or you may consider adding shopping cart functionality so customers can order and pay online. One package we like is osCommerce, and you can try our demo store here. We also offer custom online catalog solutions, as we have provided for clients in the past.
Mailing List Management: whether your needs are for e-mail or postal mail, an online mailing list manager will help you collect those addresses into your database, then export them for e-mailing or for postal mail campaigns.
Calendars: if you need an events calendar for your business or organization, or need something that your visitors can add dates to, you should consider adding a calendar application to your site.
Database Applications: technically, most features we add are database-powered. However, we have developed a few in-house applications for specific uses that could easily be adapted for others. For music-based sites, we have developed a discography system to list a band or artist’s works. If you have scheduled appearances, our itinerary feature can help you organize them online. Are you sharing links with a lot of other fellow website owners? Our links database system lets you manage your own list of links. If you have any kind of tabular data, it is best served from a database, and we can custom design anything you need relatively quickly.
Contact Canton Web Services today for more information!