As a software vendor to manufacturing/industrial businesses, I promise to treat you with the utmost professionalism and honesty. I'm in Cleveland, Ohio USA. Call me at (216) 346-7805 or email me today.

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The Promise

What do you think a software vendor should promise a new programming customer? What does a customer really need and deserve? I think these are important questions and here's why. All too often in my experience customers have been left to twist in the wind from not receiving what they are entitled to from a custom software vendor. Next, I will elaborate on what I think you as a customer deserve from a vendor of custom programming.

A customer needs prompt and dependable technical support. And this is especially critical for manufacturing/industrial customers who depend on their software to run a variety of things that are vital to their businesses. I have heard too many stories of vendors abandoning customers. If you can't get in touch with your vendor when something goes wrong, then you will obviously be headed for big trouble.

Here is something that many people may not even think about, because they do not understand how programming solutions are made. Most applications are built with a software compiler or an integrated development environment. The programmer creates programming instructions called source code. That is then "compiled" or "translated" into machine code, which becomes your application you use to run your company. Well, I have seen too many instances where the programmer did not leave the current source code with the customer. And you deserve to have it since you paid for it. If something happens to your software vendor so he/she is unable to service you any longer, you need to have the complete source code in your possession so it will be available for the new programmer you hire.

Another thing you are entitled to is honesty and integrity. We don't live in a perfect world. Unpleasant things can and do happen. I'm not perfect and I don't pretend to be. Programs have crashed and lost data either through my own fault or because of external forces beyond my control. When these dreaded things do happen, you have a choice. One option is to lie to the customer and try to cover up what happened. And you may get away with it for a while, but it will eventually catch up with you. The other option, and a much better one I think, is to level with the customer and let him/her know what happened and then come up with a plan to fix it. This is difficult in the short term, but in the long term it will build trust.


picture of website

Creating Your First Website: A Beginnerís Guide

Currently, there are over 3.26 billion Internet users in the world. Thatís 40% of the worldís population. With these kinds of statistics, itís easy to see why itís important for you to be visible on the Internet if you want to be taken seriously.

When it comes to creating your own website, it can seem like a daunting task. There are so many variables to consider. It takes just 0.05 seconds for a user to form an opinion about your website, so you can bet that if their first impression is a bad one, they will leave before reading any of your content.

This guide will help you understand whatís necessary when building your own website.

Step 1: Choosing a framework

Back in the early days of the Internet, website owners would have to manually update HTML files whenever they wanted to add content to their website. This meant that you had to either learn HTML or pay someone to manage your website for you.

Nowadays, things are simpler because we have whatís known as content management systems. A CMS will include a set of template files, so that all you need to do to update your website is login to the backend and type out what you want to add.

There are a number of free open source CMS solutions to choose from. The most popular and perhaps the most accessible one is Wordpress. Thereís also Joomla and Drupal, but those are geared towards people who already have knowledge of web programming. Wordpress is the most commonly used CMS on the Internet by first time website owners.

If you do choose Wordpress, it is strongly suggested that you go with the self-hosted version instead of the free Wordpress. The self-hosted version will give you full control over every aspect of your website, but youíll need to own a webserver to host it on.

This brings us to the next step.

Step 2: Finding your domain name and server

Finding the right domain name and host server are the most important things to consider when building a website. Hereís a summary of what each of these are for:

Domain name

Your domain name is your address on the Internet. Itís what people will have to type into their address bar to find you. You must consider long term branding when you make a decision about your domain name. Itís also important to note that a high number of domain names will already be taken, so the more unique your name is the better.

As a rule of thumb, try to make your domain name as short as possible so that itís easy to memorize. You should also avoid using hyphens as theyíre no longer search engine friendly.

Host server

If your website was your house, then your host server would be the land that it sits on. Your host server is required to deliver your website to an end user when they type in your domain name.

There are many host providers out there, so youíll have to do some shopping around to get the best package for you. You should look for hosts that have 1-click activation for the popular CMS packages, as these are the hosts that are typically the most reliable.

Once you have your web host, domain name and a CMS installed, the fun begins.

Step 3: Customizing your website

With your CMS ready, you can begin customizing your site by logging into the dashboard. Once you are on the dashboard of your chosen CMS, you will see different options that allow you to customize everything from the design of your site, to the search engine optimisation of your content.

Itís recommended that you search Google for some more unique looking design layouts for your framework. A web design is important, and most of the default themes on your CMS will be used by others.

Things to consider when looking for the right theme:

  • Is it user-friendly? - Put yourselves in the shoes of someone visiting your site for the first time. Is it easy for them to find the most relevant content that you have to offer?

  • Does it have good readability? - Colors are an important part of design but make sure that people are easily able to read your content without straining their eyes. Black text on a white background is the best solution when it comes to delivering written content.

Adding content to your site

The content on your pages is what will draw traffic to your website so itís important to know how to add content. When it comes to content, there are two main content types; posts and pages.

  • Posts are dynamic pieces of content that are typically listed in a feed. Other names for these pages are blogs, editorials or articles. These will likely be regular pieces of content that you publish for your readers or customers.

  • Pages are static pieces of information on your website. For example, an ďAbout usĒ or a ďContact usĒ is considered a page.

The beauty of a CMS is that they make adding these types of page easy. Itís similar to using a word processor, however, website formatting is much different from the formatting a word processor. Whenever you copy over your content into your CMS, be sure to spend some extra time re-formatting it for the web.

This concludes this guide to creating your first website. Itís important to understand that owning a website is a long-term commitment. There will be additional things to consider when setting up your websites such as adding pages to your navigation bar and setting up a Title and Tagline for your site. The Internet is always changing so be sure to keep up to date with the best practices in web design.

Here is a movie of a program I created. Real data has been swapped out with phantom data for privacy and security reasons.

Please use my email and phone contact page so we can further discuss your ideas today. Also, please visit my YouTube Channel to view more videos I have made than what is profiled on this site.

douglas b miller, computer program designer

douglas b miller, computer program designer

Copyright © 2010-2017 Douglas Miller