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Custom Application Development Vs Off The Shelf Software Application

Businesses are always looking for ways to reduce overheads, improve operations and boost productivity. Achieving this target also incorporates choosing between the option to hire developers to create custom applications or to use off the shelf software solutions. Even though off the shelf software can be utilized for efficient business operations, only some of them can make the work simpler in true sense. Hence, most business owners prefer going developing customized software for their organizations.

Listed below are some benefits that you can expect for your business by choosing custom software development over using off the shelf software applications:

  • Functionality: Custom built software are specifically developed to accommodate your company’s needs. While using off the shelf software, you might not be able to increase or incorporate additional functions that may be necessary to maintain the workflow. With custom made software, you can be rest assured that the application is a perfect fit for all your requirements.
  • Flexibility: In a custom software application, you are the owner of the code and have complete control over future upgrades. You can upscale the software as and when required, according to your business’ needs. In contrast, this is not possible for off the shelf applications.
  • Protection From External Threats: Custom software development can safeguard your business from various security threats. Majority of hacking attacks are carried through the manipulation of known vulnerabilities in off-the-shelf software. Custom made applications will be a less achievable target for the hackers for it will require much effort to breach the security codes. 
  • Support And Maintenance: When you have custom built software, you can easily maintain it for as long as you need. Immediate fixes and upgrades are possible according to your own requirements. However, with an off-the-shelf application, you have to rely on the support staff of company from which you have purchased the software.

Considering the above given benefits, it is quite clear that custom application development is perhaps a better alternative over using off the shelf software applications. We, at Centex Technologies, provide customized software development services to the businesses in Dallas, TX. For more information, you can call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

Keeping Your Mobile Devices Secure

Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become an important part of life for most people. Though these technologically advanced gadgets have provided a great deal of convenience, there are several threats that come along. With sending emails, shopping and doing banking on the move, your personal information has become more vulnerable than ever.

Given here are some of the best practices to keep your mobile devices secure:

  • Keep Your Device Updated: The first line of defense against security threats is to keep your mobile devices updated with the latest software. Check for updates regularly and download the apps only from credible sources. You must also keep your device properly patched against known vulnerabilities. 
  • Encrypt Data: There is a lot of sensitive information stored on your mobile device, such as official emails, contact numbers, passwords etc. In order to keep everything safe, it is best to store the data in an encrypted form. This will make sure that if the device is stolen, the thief will not be able to access the information stored therein.
  • Remote Wipe: These apps enable you to erase all the data in case the device gets stolen or lost. You can remotely wipe off all the stored contacts, images and other important data from another system. However, these apps work only if the mobile device is turned on and receiving a network signal.
  • Lock The Device: Enable built-in screen lock features in all your mobile devices. Make sure you employ strong passwords to block unwanted access. You can also use the auto-lock feature in which the device will automatically lock itself after a certain period of time and require a password to be unlocked.
  • Avoid Using Open W-Fi Networks: You must not use public Wi-Fi networks, particularly those that do not require a password to connect. It might be set up to initiate an attack on your network. Avoid logging into any secure websites while using a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Be Careful With Bluetooth: Many mobile devices come with a default setting to switch on Bluetooth. This enables the users nearby to detect your device and potentially, connect to it. To avoid this, turn off Bluetooth when you are not using it or alter its security settings so that it is visible only to already connected devices.

For more tips on how to keep your mobile devices safe and secure, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654(972) 375 – 9654.

SEO For Travel Portals

With the summer season just around the corner, it is time for the travel industry to gear up with their marketing strategies to attract new customers. Internet being a key part in the planning of holiday, right from searching popular destinations to flight and hotel bookings, SEO has become a crucial factor determining the success of a travel portal. Ensuring that your website comes up in the top results when one searches your niche specific keyword can help your business gain a competitive edge in the industry.

Understanding The Importance of SEO For Travel Portals

The value of SEO for travel websites runs far beyond simply being found on Google. Achieving a higher conversion rate depends upon the customer’s ability to research destinations, read reviews and search itineraries for their holiday. This process includes visiting several sites before finally making the reservations. Optimizing user experience at this stage by providing informative content and a hassle-free booking process can add to the effectiveness of an SEO campaign for the travel portal.

SEO Strategies For Travel Portals

  • Link Building: High quality link building is an important factor in the success of an SEO campaign. While browsing the internet, it is likely that the customers will visit a number of off-site sources to evaluate the credibility of your business. A travel website with external links from trusted sources is more likely to come up higher in search engine results.
  • Content Strategy: Having unique and keyword focused content with links to your website is one of the best ways to improve your organic search rankings. Including terms which most people usually search during the initial stage, such as ‘Hotels in Dallas’, can get you in front of the right audience at the right time.
  • Rich Snippets: With the introduction of rich snippets in Google’s SERPs, you can reach maximum audience by providing important information about a webpage in the search results. This can include the prices, deals, star ratings and reviews for any listing on your website. This can have a positive impact on your portal’s click through rate.
  • Social Media: Incorporating social media as part of the SEO campaign is also important for travel portals. Effective user interaction and active presence on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest etc. are strong ranking signals for search engines.

We, at Centex Technologies, provide result oriented SEO services for travel portals. For more information, you can call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

Client Side Code Versus Server Side Code

While there has been a continuous debate if client side scripting is better than server side scripting, we believe that a mix of both is best for any web application or portal. Here we have outlined some of the pros and cons of both.

Client Side Code

The client side code is inserted in the web page itself and is executed on the user’s internet browser. The scripting languages that can be used to write client side code include JavaScript, HTML and CSS. However, for your web application to be displayed properly, the browser must support these languages.

Advantages of client side code:

  • Allows for more interactive and quick loading websites
  • Immediate execution of client’s requests as they do not require to contact the server
  • May enhance the usability of websites for browsers that support the code

Disadvantages of client side code:

  • Every browser does not support scripts. Hence, some users might face difficulty if substitutes such as HTML have not been provided
  • Requires more time and effort to be developed
  • Every version of different browsers supports the script differently. Therefore, more testing is required.

Server Side Code

In a server side code, the website script is processed on the server before being downloaded by the internet browser. In this way, the requested web page or application is displayed as a regular HTML page while it is being loaded. The scripting languages for server side code are PHP, ASP.NET, Perl, Python, Java Server Pages etc.

Advantages of server side code:

  • Reduces load on the user’s computer
  • The site can be configured to use a content management system to simplify publishing, editing etc.
  • Website load times are generally reduced

Disadvantages of server side code:

  • Server side scripting does not offer as seamless experience for users as client side scripting does.
  • Scripting software must be installed on the server

As each of them has their own usability, most websites use a combination of both client side and server side code. The former one is good for sites that require attractive appearance and user interaction. The latter one can be used for those that require posting dynamic data.

Benefits Of A/B Testing

A/B testing, also called as split testing, is a process of experimenting between two or more variants of the same web page to determine which of them achieves more conversion rate. It involves validating that any changes made in the design or layout of your website is yielding better performance before you make changes in the site code. A/B testing allows you to assess different elements of your website including:

  • Placement, design and color of the buttons
  • The location, text or color of call-to-action
  • Product pricing
  • Headlines and product descriptions
  • Product placement and photos
  • Appearance and layout of website
  • Length of text on each page

Benefits of using A/B testing for your website:

  • Measure Performance Differences: A/B testing allows you to have an accurate measure of your website’s performance between two different alternatives. You just need to collect the recorded data to compare the results.
  • Measure Actual Behavior: While you are creating a website, it might be difficult to judge how a certain design or navigation would perform. By using A/B testing, you can get it evaluated by the real customers and have a better idea about the preferences of your target market. This will help you offer desirable products and services to your clients.
  • Increase Conversion Rate: A/B testing enables you to boost conversion rates on your landing pages as well as increase your current leads with the help of proven techniques and methods.
  • Improve Content: A/B testing helps you in initiating a successful content marketing campaign. It lets you know what type of data is given positive feedback by the users. Thus, you can make the required changes in your existing content adequately optimized for the target customers.
  • Lower Risks: A/B testing considerably reduces the risk involved in major decisions like marketing strategy and pricing. Analyzing consumer behavior before implementing anything increases the chances of success. With A/B testing, companies can appropriately invest their resources to yield maximum results and greater ROI. 
  • Easy To Design: The A/B test does not need to be carefully or technical designed to achieve accurate results. All you need to do is to decide the number of versions you want to test and split your website’s traffic among them.

Regardless of which things are you evaluating in your website, A/B testing is a simple and cost-effective way to know precisely which option will work the best for you.

Tips On Reducing Website Load Time

A slow loading website can be extremely harmful for a business. Instead of generating business, it might have negative effect on potential customers as they can get frustrated waiting for pages to show up. A website that loads fast plays an important role in generating leads and converting visitors into customers. It has been observed that if a website does not load within 8 to 10 seconds, there are higher chances that the users will abandon the website. This is true both for the desktop and mobile websites.

Given here are some tips that can help to reduce your website’s load time:

  • Optimize HTML Code: Make sure that your website has a light interface and takes minimal load time. For this, there should not be any unnecessary tags and broken links. Also, remove any links that redirect the users to an error page.
  • Minimize HTTP Requests: A website’s performance is significantly determined by the time it requires to download several components of a page. This may include Flash, JavaScript, images, style sheets etc. Keeping this in mind, you can reduce your website’s load time by reducing the amount of HTTP requests by merging files, scripts and CSS.
  • Compress Images: Although high definition images can enhance the overall look of your website, it can severely increase its load time. Try to limit the use of images as far as possible. If images are necessary, make sure you compress their size so that they do not take much time to load.
  • Enable Browser Caching: When a user visits your website, the elements on each page will be stored on user’s system in the form of cache. This way, the browser does not have to send another HTTP request the next time your website is accessed from the same device. This will also help to reduce its load time.
  • Simplify Design And Layout: Try to keep the interface and design of your website as simple as possible. Including too many graphics ad buttons can make your website load much slower.
  • Eliminate Unnecessary Plugins: Using excessive plugins in your website can increase its load time, create security threats and can even lead to crashes or other technical problems. To avoid this, you should selectively disable all the unnecessary plugins and then measure the performance of your website.

Centex Technologies provides efficient website designing solutions to the businesses in Dallas, TX. We aim at creating user friendly websites with maximum usability and minimum load time. For more information, you can call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

Tips On Optimizing Your Website For Mobile Devices

With more than half of the users accessing the World Wide Web through their smartphone, creating a mobile friendly website has become even more important. Even if you have a well-designed and attractive desktop website, users might be disinterested if it is not responsive to mobile devices. You may lose out on a significant number of your potential customers if you do not have a website specifically optimized for small screen devices.

Listed below are some useful tips on optimizing your website for mobile devices:

  • Opt For Simple Design: Your website design should be as simple as possible so that the users can easily find what they are looking for. For instance, most mobile users will probably access your website to quickly search for your address or contact details. Make sure that all such important information and call-to-action buttons are overtly visible.
  • Cut Down On Image Use: There can be nothing more devastating for a mobile website than the use of large and high definition images. In order to create a fast loading website, restrict the use of images as far as possible, particularly from the homepage. If absolutely necessary, prefer inserting smaller images.
  • Simplify Navigation: Visitors should not face any difficulty while navigating through your website. Make sure you provide clear categories and sub-categories for all the products or services you offer. Scrolling of menu should be vertical instead of horizontal to facilitate user accessibility. Also, provide a link for ‘back to top’ and ‘home page’ as well as a search box on every web page.
  • Use Targeted Content: The biggest element of optimizing a website for mobile devices is to use highly targeted and brief content. It should be focused around your key products and services. Try to prioritize information in order to achieve a better conversion rate.
  • Eliminate Pop-Up Windows: Mobile users find it quite annoying when they have to deal with pop-up windows. Although they are convenient for a desktop website, switching between multiple tabs is not conducive on a mobile device. If it is necessary to use pop-ups, provide an alert to the users that they are being redirected and how they can get back to the original page. 

For more tips on how to optimize your website for mobile devices, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.

Safeguard Your Information

Hacking has always been a matter of concern for the internet users. Cybercriminals are constantly trying to breach confidential data, passwords and other information.  Considering the prevalence of security attacks, it is not irrational to assume that almost 9 out of 10 people will be a victim of identity theft once in their lifetime. If you are a business owner, you might want to make sure that all the information related to your employees and clients is totally secure.

Here are some of the cyber security tips to safeguard your information:

  • Create Strong Passwords: Most of the hacking attacks are carried out with stolen passwords. Thus, it is important to create a password that consists of uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers as well as special characters. Passwords with a combination of all these elements are usually hard to crack. You should also change your passwords at frequent intervals.
  • Avoid Using Personal Information In Passwords: Although passwords containing personal information like name and date of birth are easy to remember, it makes them much easier to hack. This information is widely available on Google and social media platforms that can be easily found by the hackers. 
  • Turn Off GPS And Wi-Fi Services: Keep your smartphones and laptops secure by turning off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS when you do not need them. This way, no one will be able to detect your location.
  • Delete Unused Apps: If you have a lot of apps on your smartphones/ tabs that you do not use often, make sure you delete them. You must also replace the apps that require access to most of your personal details such as contacts, SMS logs, emails, location etc.
  • Keep Your Browser Clean: Prevent yourself from getting spied by frequently clearing browser history, cache, cookies and saved passwords. It saves your personal information from being insecure on your computer, laptop or smartphone.
  • Turn Off Geotagging: Some social networking websites display your location along with your photos or posts. You must turn off geotagging to avoid giving out information about the place from where you have taken the pictures. 
  • Shop Only With Credible Websites: If you are shopping online, make sure the website belongs to a reliable company. All your transactions should be protected by an ‘HTTPS’ browser session. This will make sure that your name, address, passwords, credit card details are going over the internet in an encrypted form. 

For more tips on safeguarding your information and other cyber security issues, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.

SEO In 2015

SEO has undergone dramatic changes in the past few years, and the recent Panda and Penguin updates in 2014 have called for many changes in SEO techniques. In 2015, many website owners are contemplating about the strategies to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Given here are some important tips and tricks that can help you run a successful SEO campaign this year:

  • Focus On Mobile SEO: In 2015, traffic from smartphones is expected to overtake the web traffic from desktop and laptops. This means that your SEO campaign should focus more on attaining a higher ranking in the mobile searches. You should also optimize your website to be easily viewed on mobile devices.
  • Content Marketing: Content is still expected to remain the king of a high ranked website. Google always appreciates those websites that write useful and informative content rather than just keeping it stuffed with keywords. Quality is an important factor in content instead of how much or how frequently it is posted.
  • Less Emphasis On Keywords: Experts believe that SEO will focus more on increasing brand awareness in contrast to the previous trend of targeting a high ranking in Google. Click-through-rates (CTR) and calls-to-action (CTA) will be a major determinant of organic search traffic to a website.
  • Relevant Title Tags: These have always been an important determinant in a website’s ranking and will continue to be the same. A good title tag should be descriptive yet relevant, including all your main keywords. There is no ideal length of a title tag but it should consist of 60 to 70 characters. 
  • Social Media: Even though this is not a new trend, social media will continue to remain a vital part of an SEO campaign. Search engines give much importance to social network signals to rank your website. It will play a major role in promoting your business among the target audience.
  • Local SEO: Google has recently updated its algorithms to provide location specific search results to the users. Local citations and directory submissions will gain importance in SEO strategies. Additionally, companies will also look to optimize their web pages by including addresses, contact numbers and locations consistent with the local listings.

Centex Technologies provides result oriented SEO solutions to the businesses in Dallas, TX. Our professional team uses the most innovative techniques to deliver consistent results in the form of increased website traffic. For more information, call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

Payment Gateway Security Tips

If you have an ecommerce website, you might be aware of the importance of a secure payment gateway. As a business owner, it is important that you keep the users’ information confidential and secure from getting misused in any form. Such data may include usernames, passwords, credit or debit card details, PIN numbers etc. It is important that you follow strict measures to ensure the security of all the transactions that take place through your website’s payment gateway.
Here are some of the tips that you must follow to ensure payment gateway security:

  • PCI DSS: The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has put forward certain security standards for all the businesses that accept online payments. These are a set of 12 requirements that ensure all corporations that store, process or transmit credit or debit card data maintain a safe and secure environment.
  • Storing Card Details: In order to keep your customers’ data protected, it should be encrypted in an asymmetric format, which makes it nearly impossible for the hackers to decode it. Also, the software should be programmed to ask for a strong password, consisting of alphabets, numbers and symbols, for the transaction to be processed. You must also verify the IP address of the user before validating any transaction through your payment gateway. This may seem a bit complicated initially, but it is very important to keep the process fast and secure.
  • Physical Security: The network or system that stores all the credit or debit card data of the customers should have restricted access. Only the concerned employees should be able to view the information. You can also issue smart cards or use biometric authorization before letting anyone enter the room that has the equipment storing such details.
  • Threat Detection: Make sure you have executed credible software to monitor all the traffic that your network receives. This will help you detect and avert any potential malicious users visiting your website. As soon as any such movement is detected, you must take immediate action to verify that your customers’ data is secure.

The customers should also be very cautious while making any online transaction. Make sure that the payment is redirected through a verified payment getaway with an ‘HTTPS’ protocol. Also, you should avoid making purchases through public computers.

For more information about payment gateway security, you can contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.