Graph databases are gaining in popularity. Recently several of the major social media sites have introduced and been talking about graph search.  Google, Facebook and Twitter all are using graphs.  But graphs need not be just for the internet big wigs.  Commercial sites might consider them as well.

Unlike the more commonly used relational databases – Graph databases let you represent related data as it inherently is: as a set of objects connected by a set of relationships, each with its own set of descriptive properties. With a graph database the data stored in the database directly parallels the whiteboard representation. The developer can start coding immediately. Relational databases need to carry out a number of steps to determine whether and how things are connected, and then to retrieve related data records. Graph databases make the connection between relationships appear naturally.

Graph databases can provide an opportunity in many enterprise spaces.  It could be used by a company to help employees search the company’s social network to find their colleagues who have worked on specific projects. This would save them the time of having to go through databases manually and piece information together themselves. It might also be used to help sales teams identify connections to a prospective client. It can be used in geographic search to find points of interests and connect those interests with your social network. Graph Search is about giving users the ability to combine intent, social context and custom audiences.

Graph databases allow the database to naturally keep up with one’s business as it grows. Response times slow down as a relational database grows in volume, which causes problems as a business grows. However with a graph database, traversal speed remains constant, not depending on the total amount of data stored.

Traditional databases aren’t going away, but the development world is seeing an increasing number of applications where graph databases are being used. Relational databases are great when it comes to relatively static and predictable tabular data. Graph databases are being used to accelerate development and massively speed up performance. This is something any organization can benefit from.

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A CMS or content management system is a great tool for many businesses and their websites. It allows you to manage what’s on your site’s pages by providing simple tools to create the content and publish it.

Content management systems offer easy to use administration that helps you to manage the content of your website when it suits you.  You can edit, maintain and extend content when you need to. A CMS allows you to get content changes live on your website quickly. It provides you with the ability to quickly react to changes in the market place.  If you want to create future content – a CMS will allow you to do that as well. You can prepare material to publish for a specific date, e.g. new offers, sales, marketing campaigns and PR. It’s easy to write content and then save this as a draft.  With a CMS, it is possible to control who can write and who can approve content. It ensures that only content that is approved beforehand is being posted on your website.

A CMS makes it simple to keep track of all the pages on your website regardless of how many you add. Additionally, you can publish the same content with different themes, which can be tailored for desktop, tablet and mobile. You can run marketing campaigns and create landing pages for your site.

Content management systems are also a good way to support your e-commerce activities.  Combining a CMS system with an e-commerce store allows you to create keyword rich, SEO friendly product content and reviews to support your online marketing and enhance sales.

Updating your own website allows you to lower your costs. The ability to change content yourself saves the cost of going through an agency to make changes each and every time your website needs tweaking.

Overall, a CMS gives you better control over your website. Using one will help all kinds of businesses with the need to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver data on their websites in a practical, efficient and cost effective manner.  Content management systems offer many advantages.  If you are considering a new site – or updating an existing one – you should consider a CMS to facilitate your efforts to manage your online presence.

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The brain of every website is its navigation.  Navigation on all websites is the key to a website’s functioning and access to its contents.  Traditional publications usually have a “table of contents” and an “index” that guide you through them. Since you can’t hold a website in your hands, a website’s navigation functions as its “table of context” or “index” and guides the user through a site to find the content they are searching for. The importance of navigation cannot be overstated, especially when working with large quantities of content. If you can’t find the content – it can’t be read.  If content can’t be found or read – it is of no value either for informational purposes or revenue.

Think of designing navigation as though you were designing a road map. The goal of navigation is much like the goal of a map or road signs – to help get the user somewhere.  Web readers move quickly. Therefore navigation design should always be simple and direct with the overriding objective of helping reader get to where they want to go.

Navigation should be planned.  Most web users are impatient people.  If a site is hard to understand because the links aren’t clear, they will immediately click away. You navigate a website one screen at a time. A reader who gets lost or confused in is likely to hit the “Back” button. Therefore, creating a navigation system that makes the reader feel comfortable, and allows them to find the content they want quickly, is critical to the success of any website. Website navigation is a key element for determining a website’s effectiveness. In our next blog we take a look at some of the fundamental principles of good navigation design.

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