Web-enabling the world of business

Imagining Out Loud
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Let's talk quickly on timely topics to elevate your web strategy. Fellow developers will be addressed as well, but in small doses, and wherever possible, in common-speak.

JanRain.. the social doorway for better business

May 22nd, 2011
Author: Andrew

Over the last 6 months, I have created a JanRain social login tool for two of my biggest clients, even extending the tool to the mobile version of Simple Foodie. The results were good, and I have been recommending it since to any client that has a registration requirement.

social login tools from CGI Pro

Over the last few weeks however, the question has expanded beyond the value of expediting registration and login, to the more direct value of having key social “hooks” on your website. The ‘like’ button is fine, the share buttons are great too, but in terms of seeking to make your site a trusted destination, having a social login anchor point is the best. People have a strong anchor in Facebook now. It’s use is no longer a phenomena, but standard practice. The novelty has worn off, and in its place there is a growing desire for its practicality in what I call its ‘anchor window’ value. An anchor window is a window or tab you keep open on your browser while others come and go. Facebook is tops here. So while your potential users are opening closing various windows as they research new companies to do business with, which ones are they going to remember and come back to? The ones most closely associated with their anchor window of course.

So even if you don’t have an integrated database or application centered website, wouldn’t it be valuable to lay your social ‘hooks’ into your site visitors? We can put JanRain right into your contact forms. To your customers, it is an easy way to send more contact info with less effort. For you, it opens the door for more detailed, in-depth interaction. For longevity, if we build the right tools in for future visits, it creates shortcuts for your clients to streamline repeat business with you.

Isn’t that what you want?

Race to the bottom? Who wants to win that?

April 27th, 2011
Author: Andrew

Everyday we are challenged with presentation decisions. Do we stay cheap and seek admiration for our frugality and meager margins in a tough economy, or do we invest in standing out to bring superior value for our customers? While these decisions need not be zero-sum equations, our world-view regarding how we run the race in the new paradigm, as well as where we are running, will determine everything. Either you are committed to innovating your way to prominence, or you are seeking a comfortable place of security with minimal cost.

Seth Godin says it best….

Exclusive interview with Seth Godin from GiANT Impact on Vimeo.

Here at CGIPro, we have wrestled mightily with the dillemma of accepting work we know falls below our vision of innovative excellence. We have catered to too many people who are comfortable racing to the bottom. A new day is dawning however. We are leaner, and ready for an exclusive clientele seeking innovative, interactive presentation as a key part of their race to the top.

We don’t have to be a highly expensive digital agency to achieve this. We just have to be properly committed to working with the right mindset.

If you want to race to the bottom, you can post your project on guru.com and find an Asian freelancer to work for $12/hr.

Advanced Wordpress Development

March 26th, 2011
Author: Andrew

I have had a few inquiries lately on our experience with Wordpress. It is one of those things that we are called on to deal with extensively and creatively, but these kinds of projects rarely make it to our portfolio page.

For Wordpress integration, some of the more amazing things we have done in the last 2 years are:

1) I brought a fully pre-developed site design into a custom Wordpress theme, with all of it’s own session variables included, so the site has only one header/footer to edit.

2) Combined a fully functional member management system, built on our CGI codebase framework, that I have been tuning for ten years, into a wordpress environment, building in custom plugins and privacy security.
(you wont be able to enjoy seeing the details of course.. it’s private.)

3) FourthSpeaker.com is my company blog for a prior startup I founded where I built an auto mailer to go out to various groups of recipients. Blog content is protected by the ‘levels’ plugin, and the bulk mailer sends some groups a weekly newsletter, and staff a daily update.

4) Created a Wordpress friendly Google Maps reservation system for a storage facility that needed to work fully within a designers wordpress theme. Although I had to use an iframe at the time, for this to work on budget in wordpress instead of a plugin, (which I would likely not do again), I was knee deep in wordpress to make this work properly.