Does Your Website Measure Up?

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”3881″ align=”left” size=”small 150 width” autoHeight=”true” quality=”90″] Our first piece of advice is simple:  Unless it’s a hobby site, get your website professionally designed and coded.  We won’t dwell on hobby sites, because there are many simple and attractive templates and Wysiwyg programs to help create this kind of site.

Business sites, however, carry the full force of your reputation and image, and should never be delegated to less than professional care and feeding – even small sites.

Content Management Systems

If it’s a small site, likely your design and development team may suggest an equally simple template design with core pages and navigation.  A more complex site might be well served with a customised Content Management System.  These CMS systems deliver a positive visual continuity within the site, while allowing personnel to contribute to site content at varying permission levels.  We emphasize visual continuity, because older sites, over time, often become a jumble of disparate type, images and navigation that deliver a disorganized and inept message.  Almost any option can include a secure back-end area for internal and customer communications as well as other legacy matters that need be incorporated into the update site.

The Must Do Basics!

In a nutshell, though, follow these basic rules, and you’ll be well on your way to an attractive, professional web presence. 

As we mention prominently on the site, you can contact us anytime for a free consult to discuss your requirements and special needs.  It’s a great starting point!

An Amazing Peek At What Your Brain Sees

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”3716″ align=”left” size=”medium” autoHeight=”true” quality=”98″]Are our brains more computer like than we think? University researchers reveal a startling look at what our brain sees, and it’s a fascinating glimpse of the future!

And yes, these are actually visual scans of what the mind saw while watching movie content using a special (MRI) imaging technique, together with other computational modeling.  In other words, it shows that reading a brain is possible with machines.  As Professor Jack Gallant, a UC Berkeley neuroscientist and coauthor of the study published online in the journal Current Biology said,“We are opening a window into the movies in our minds.”

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”3890″ align=”left” size=”Small 150 width” autoHeight=”true”] Curiously, back in the 80’s, Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood starred  in a movie called “Brainstorm,” a sci-fi,  in which the two brilliant researchers developed a system of recording and playing back the actual experiences of people which, ultimately, in the movie goes terribly wrong. Here’s a one-minute clip from that early movie

But, back to reality:  While this research is an exciting step towards recreating moving pictures from internal imagery, the fully realized technology is still a distant goal.  We now know, however, it’s within grasp.  According to the study, one day we might someday be able to capture dreams and memories that exist only in our minds, or utilize the technology to help stroke or coma victims.

And that’s probably just the beginning!

To see the actual research movie clip go here:


Dan Shaffer Joins SiteVision As Director Of GESD

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”3545″ title=”Dan Shaffer” align=”left” size=”Small 150 width” autoHeight=”true”] Dan Shaffer, a 22-year veteran in the design, development, and administration of geographic information systems and facility management data, becomes director of Geospatial Information Systems and Enterprise Development (GESD) for SiteVision, Inc., a Virginia Application Development and Hosting firm. As Director of GESD, Shaffer will report directly to the president and will be responsible for managing all aspects of the Division.

Shaffer brings with him expert knowledge in spatial and relational database development and geographic information systems.  He was formerly a faculty member and Acting Coordinator of Applied Geographic Information Systems, James Madison University, College of Integrated Science and Technology.  He was also Vice-Chairman of the Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN) Advisory Board as appointed by Virginia Governors Allen, Gilmore, and Warner.  Shaffer received his BS in Geography and his MS in Integrated Science and Technology from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.  He was also CEO of Terralogic, Inc., a Land and Geographic Information Systems Development and Hosting Company that merged with SiteVision when Shaffer decided to pursue additional academic credentials.

“We are extremely gratified to have Dan join our team at SiteVision.  His extensive experience in GIS and systems project management, his ability to provide positive team leadership and mentoring, and his excellent knowledge of all major operating systems including GIS remote sensing, CADD and database systems, will be an extremely positive enhancement for our GESD Division,” said Patrick Maddox, President. “Dan’s presence in the industry is well established, as is his dedication to advancing this increasingly important technology,” added Maddox.

As team leader for the GESD Division, Shaffer will be directly responsible for managing GESD personnel and providing on-the-job training as needed, and will assign and oversee work of GESD personnel. He will also be responsible for developing new GESD services and markets, and for managing GESD client contacts, requests, submissions and contracts.

Is It Time To Check Your Website’s IQ?

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”3740″ size=”small” align=”left” autoHeight=”true” quality=”90″]

Helpful Sites To Maximize Your Search Engine Optimization

It goes without saying Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is an essential web business tool. Want to check out how your website fares?  Here are some free tools and tutorials to get you started, or to evaluate your current status.  Be aware that while some are entirely free, generally the goal is to upgrade your status. Nevertheless, there are some really useful links to help you assess your website’s level of optimization.

As an overview, Google’s PDF called Search Engine Optimization is a very handy treatment of SEO Basics. You’ll find it here in the right hand column under Help Resources.  There is also a half-hour or so video tutorial should you be so inclined.

SEO Tools

  • Google Webmaster Central.  This is a jumping off point for Webmaster Tools.  For starters, improve your site’s visibility by adding it to be indexed.  The tools assist you in diagnosing issues, rankings and website speeds to name a few.  Very handy and very useful!  A video on the home page illustrates in a simple, straightforward manner how the tools work.
  • Google Analytics.  This is an enterprise-class web analytics solution that lets you monitor your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. According to Google, its “Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way.”  Features include segmentation analysis, flexible customization, e-commerce tracking, sales to goal and conversion tracking, mobile tracking and much more.   
  • Google Insights See what’s popular in searching patterns by categories, seasonality, geographic distribution and much more!
  • Google Trends  This tool provides the most popular topics and searched queries . This tool could be a great help for bloggers who are confused about what topic they should write on .
  • Mozbar Toolbar A SEO toolbar available to download for Firefox and Chrome with powerful SEO tools that let you analyze metrics while you surf, create custom searches, compare metrics for Google, Yahoo and Bing – plus much more. Download is free.  Upgrades and other options are not.
  • Microsoft Bing Webmaster Tools While most of us think Google (and for good reason) Bing and Yahoo still command about a 30% market share.  With the Bing Webmaster Tools you can view crawl activity, index coverage, traffic stats, optimize and validate your website and more.
  • Yahoo Web Analytics Yahoo Web Analytics is a highly customizable web analytic tool, with the caveat that to use it you either have to be an advertiser, or know someone who is a member of the Yahoo Consultant Network.

We Can Help

If you find SEO overwhelming, or simply don’t have the time to deal with it, please call or contact us about our fee-based SEO Services.

Ray Faddis Joins SiteVision As Web Application Developer

Ray Faddis, formerly Technology Manager for New River Valley Community Services, Blacksburg, VA, joins SiteVision, Inc., as Web Application Developer.

Ray FaddisFaddis is a graduate of Radford University, Radford, VA with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. In his former positions as a Technology Manager, Software Developer and IT Specialist, Faddis brings with him strong experience in operating systems and programming as well as the planning, implementation, security, and maintenance of hardware and software systems. Additionally, as Technology Manager for New River Valley Community Services, Faddis supervised the work of all technology staff including helpdesk technicians, network administrators, systems engineers, database administrators, and software developers providing coverage, advice and direction as necessary.

In his new position Faddis will be responsible for developing web applications and web sites in cooperation with web designers, database administrators, project leaders and other company personnel as needed.  Essential responsibilities will include working with web designers to create demos and prototypes, writing and debugging code, including ColdFusion, JavaScript, Java and other languages, the training of users in the proper operation of the software, the design and maintenance of databases in cooperation with database administrators, and the installation and configuration of web applications and sites in cooperation with network administrators.

SiteVision, Inc. ( is an Internet application development, consulting, design and hosting firm providing solutions for a broad spectrum of markets and industries, as well as for state, federal and international entities. Expertise includes custom, back-end dynamic applications, consulting to achieve unique goals, Mapping Application Development (GIS), content management systems, hosting services including, map and GIS application hosting, as well as custom and dedicated hosting solutions. The firm has its home office in Roanoke, VA, with sales offices in Charlottesville, VA and Miami, FL.

SiteVision Adds E-Commerce To Central Virginia Waste Management Authority Website

In an innovative move some years ago, the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA) added an online support system for its customers in Central Virginia area.  The original system allowed CVWMA to manage all customer curbside requests for central VA.  The system included the ability for customers to ask online about bin deliveries, missed pickups, info requests, email notification of scheduled pickups, recycling requests, reports, and the like. Now, customers can also actually order and pay for their curbside carts online.

CVWMA ScreensThe online ordering system includes a search function which permits users to find their specific address.  They are then presented with a screen that includes their address, a pop-up collection schedule for their area, an option to request an email reminder the day before pick-ups, a recycling bin request and the ability to order a regular 96-gallon curbside cart. The user then proceeds through the secure, online ordering and payment process. Upon successful completion of their purchase, customers receive an Order Confirmation page which can be printed, as well as an email receipt. The cart is then delivered within two to three weeks.

The Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA) is a public service authority that coordinates recycling and solid waste management programs with thirteen local governments in central Virginia. Since its formation in 1990, the CVWMA has provided economical waste management and recycling solutions for each of its member jurisdictions. The service celebrated its 20th year of service in December of 2010.  A board of directors including representatives from each member locality governs the actions of the Authority and daily operations are coordinated by an experienced staff.

SiteVision Partners With Salem City, VA To Enhance Real Estate Mapping

The City of Salem will soon have an enhanced tax map application developed by Sitevision, Inc.  The new system will maintain the current functionality developed by SiteVision, but will feature the latest ArcGIS technologies – an authoring system that permits sophisticated mapping display and analysis functions.

Salem Map AppAmong the features of the new system is improved browser compatibility as well as improved performance and map scalability.  Users will notice a more user friendly environment, an updated design and layout, and new selection tools. The new system will also allow users to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways.  By integrating hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, and analyzing, the GIS system can display a rich array of geographically referenced information.

SiteVision, Inc. ( specializes in internet application development, consulting, design and hosting and provides solutions for a broad spectrum of markets and industries, as well as for state, federal and international entities. Expertise includes custom, back-end dynamic applications, consulting to achieve unique goals, Mapping Application Development (GIS), content management systems, hosting services including, map and GIS application hosting, as well as custom and dedicated hosting solutions. The firm has its home office in Roanoke, VA, with sales offices in Charlottesville, VA and Miami, FL.

The Mobile Revolution. It’s Here Now.

According to a study by ComScore, over 45.5 million people in the United States owned Smartphones in 2010 out of 234 million total subscribers.1 By the end of 2011 some estimate that one in two Americans will own a Smartphone.

mobileImportantly small and big business alike is embracing this amazing market potential. For instance, according to CMS Wire, 35.2% of companies are building one to five apps for internal use. These apps will be used in roughly equal percentages for sales, executives, and field services2
Equally as exciting is the potential to deploy proprietary applications that address not just internal needs but enhance your customers and prospects sales and relationships.

What About The Here And Now For Your Business?

Important to the here and now is this explosion of corporate and consumer Smartphone use. While there are enormous internal enterprise productivity benefits (24-7 near instant intra-corporate communication), the new imperative will be marketing your services and products via Smartphones and portable tablets to consumers or within the business-to-business environment.

Think of it: smart phones are now carried 24-7 by users in huge numbers and are nearly ubiquitous for most consumers. It becomes a given then that proprietary Smartphone applications are forging a dynamic approach to customer growth and retention.
Among some innovative national campaigns specifically targeting the mobile market? Starbucks mobile payment app that let some 3 million users pay faster and more conveniently and Coldwell Banker’s Real Estate internet download app for iPad.

What’s In It For You?

With “Smartphones” increasingly stealing PC thunder, it’s also increasingly clear that mobile phone apps are fast becoming an attractive vehicle for businesses to provide valuable customer services.

To name but a few:

Really, the opportunities are fairly unlimited. It’s important to think about how your business could benefit in the mobile environment to enhance, retain, and expand your customer base – then include it in your current or future strategies.

We Can Help

SiteVision, INC - Mobile and Smartphone Applications

We have the ability to build native mobile applications on Smartphones (iOS and Android) as well as tablets (iPad, Android, and Blackberry Playbook) utilizing Flex and Adobe Air. These applications can be installed directly on the device through the various App Worlds and have access to all device functionality whether it is using the camera or saving data to an SD card.

We can also develop mobile websites that are optimized for mobile browsers. Mobile sites have the ability to interact with native functions of smart phones. They can utilize swipe gestures and such to navigate pages, or even to integrate other functionality such as ordering image tiles on a page.
As one recent example, we produced a mobile and global search app which lets users explore indigenous people groups across the globe – then register an interest in a group or groups of people.

There’s little doubt that mobile applications will be a part of your business future in various ways. Whether you go with a mobile website, a native mobile app, or both, you’ll undoubtedly benefit. The coming mobile tsunami will make sure of that!

Why SiteVision?

We’re your advocate. SiteVision has been providing web development and hosting services to government agencies and non-profit organizations for over 20 years. We understand how overwhelming it can be to seek out a reliable solution for you website, custom application, and hosting needs.

At SiteVision we are passionate about creating solutions for customers that make their life better. We excel at understanding your business process and developing an application that is easy to learn and operate. We will always be fair, knowledgeable, honest, and professional.