Americana Page Introductions

Many of our early tutorial pages once contained light-hearted introductions about page content. We saved them here for posterity.

"I see you have an online business card..."
"I see you have an online business card... Have you ever thought of a website?"

That is one of our favorite tongue-in-cheek remarks, and it used to be that we saw a lot of those one page websites consisting only of a company's name and contact information. We don't see them around much anymore. Is this because they don't exist? Au contrair! They are still quite prolific on the web. It's just that search engines like Google don't bother displaying them anymore.

Back when search engines were in their infancy, it was as if all pages were created equal and those single pagers had nearly equal status to websites containing one hundred. Now, with many businesses putting together dynamic, informative websites offering value for their visitors, there just is no place for "online business cards." Read about website development.

Imagine if We Could. . .
Remember those old hand saws with the wooden handle that attached to a tapered trapezoid of metal with serrated teeth? Did you know that it could double as a musical instrument when bent and tapped just right? For carpenters and homeowners alike, knowing that the old hand saw has a dual purpose is interesting, but is it useful?

The same multi-purpose usefulness can be had in software. We all purchase software for a specific purpose, but the reason you bought the software might be entirely different than mine. Yet we each had to pay for the other's feature. With custom software, you purchase the functionality that makes you efficient and nothing more.

So imagine the processes that would positively affect your bottom line. Chances are, those ideas can become a reality for either in-house or worldwide web access with custom programming by the experienced Thunder Data team. And if you want to integrate the sounds of that old saw along with it, we can probably do that, too!

No Matter What Her Hairstyle, We All Know Wilma Flintstone!
Professional Logo Design The wonder of a superbly created logo lies in the fact that it is so recognizable regardless of the situation in which it is used. Dove® recently launched a series of advertising campaigns for their hair care products that demonstrates this fact. Using cross-generational cartoon icons such as Jane Jetson, Marge Simpson, and Wilma Flinstone, the models sported new hairstyles with the aid of Dove® products. Dove® realized that unique, easily recognized images help people connect with the products they represent.

Every company should strive at creating their own brand uniqueness through logo recognition. Don't be a Trixie--Speed Racer's unrecognizable girlfriend, and instead follow in the footsteps of Wilma Flinstone. Develop a corporate identity that screams, "This is us!"

A Rose by Any Other Name . . .
... would smell as sweet. Too, your business would be just as superb were it called by any other name. But choosing the right company name was important and something you spent time considering. The same should be said of domain names.

Domain names should optimally be the same name as your business or organization or reflect what you sell or represent. If your top choices are taken, consider combining your name and service or product. For example, if your cat grooming business is called Royal Felines Grooming Service, you might want to purchase Optionally, you might choose Which ever name you choose, keep it as short as possible, be sure it reflects your business name or product, and say it aloud to hear how it sounds. Bear in mind that memorable names are easy to say and spell.
Great domain names are being snapped up every day. At $15 per year, they are inexpensive enough to purchase while you get the wheels turning for the opening of your own business or starting your company website. Call us and we'll purchase your domain for you. Oh, and if you want to buy, it is available!

What Makes a Web Site Stand Apart? Creativity.
Would you have your new home addition built by a roofer? Are your business taxes compiled by a college student with bookkeeping experience? Do you wonder why anyone would use another company that sells your product or service when you know you are the best in the business?

Well so do we. Web design is much more than HTML code created by Front Page™ or Dreamweaver™. Excellent web design consists of creativity, functionality, and superb marketing skills that have your website found well beyond your geographic market. It boils down to ideas.

eCommerce, Your Online Cash Register

Amazon sells books. Dell sells computers. Ebay sells everything. What do you sell?

The Internet is the bricks and mortar version of today's store. Your store. If you are selling something today whether through telephone sales, direct sales, or the tried and true cash-and-carry, you may have a new market on the Internet. Thunder Data Systems has developed an excellent, easily updated shopping cart system that integrates with any website. It is editable, customizable, and above all, it can process sales. Not just here, but in Timbuktu, too! Read our "Ten Tips for Successful Ecommerce Webites".

To Edit, Perchance, To Dream

If only ... If only you could maintain your own website in a timely manner. If only you could edit your own pages, add new pictures, even add new pages without incurring additional costs.

Well, you too can edit your own website! You too, are able to make changes at the stroke of a key! (Can you hear Ed McMahon here? How about The Price is Right?) We won't get into details about why or how it works, just that this system gives you the freedom to create. We'll give you the guidance, and you bring it to life.

Why are Websites Like Church Suppers?

In early America, church suppers brought people together and created a wonderful sense of community. Like my mother always says, "The best parties revolve around great food." And church suppers were such fun because of the culinary delights cooked up by a town full of experienced women.

Websites are like church suppers.

Wearing all of the professional hats required to build a cohesive website that sells takes an incredible designer, a practiced programmer, an advertising copywriter, and a website marketer. No single person can create a website that sells as effectively as a talented and knowledgeable team.

Just like Grandma's cobbler, Aunt Ora's sweet bread, and Ma's turkey and gravy, they tasted great on their own. But weren't they even more delicious when you ate them together during Thanksgiving supper? Read "Creating Useful Websites."

Ordinary is just ... well, ordinary

Over time, website development sees dramatic shifts in design due to emerging technologies. Remember the links that shifted whole paragraphs when you hovered over them ten years ago? Once-fresh technology eventually goes the way of those old animated email links. Having old, tired technology suggests a tired, old company.

We use technology like ThunderScripting, Flash scripting, and artistic graphic design to take your existing website content and house it in superb, functional, and exciting ways. Even better, because we aren't starting from scratch, you aren't paying from scratch! If you want to be as cutting edge as your competitor, let us share some ideas to get you started for a little web facelift.

8 Seconds?

We wish! Rodeo cowboys (and gals) are expected to hang onto their bucking broncos for 8 seconds. Well, on the web we strive to keep our visitors looking for 6. The things we could do with 2 more seconds!

Eye tracking is a branch of website marketing analysis where visitors' eye movements are tracked as they move across a web page. Studies show that visitors to a web page will generally scan from the top left corner, move slightly down, then flow straight across before zig-zagging their way to the bottom. If your site doesn't jump out at your customers with a keyword or eye-catching graphic, you've lost your buyer as they click to your competitor. This is the stuff of web marketing science driving the way we develop websites that sell.

Our Internet superhighway is traveling at the speed of light, and we do everything possible to slow it down. In our mind, bull riders have it easy!

The Internet as the New Yellow Pages

How many times have you used an Internet search engine to find information on a trip, plane ticket, or book? What about finding a supplier for a product you need for business? You aren't alone. The Internet has over 80 million users each and every day looking to satisfy a hunger for information or for assurance that their next purchase is the correct one. How much is it worth to your company to be introduced to this audience? Your website must be found on search engines in order to have an opportunity to sell! Some interesting Internet facts by year:

  • 1990 - The first web server is launched.
  • 1995 - AOL & Compuserve offer dial up access.
  • 1996 - Netscape and Microsoft start the "Browser War".
  • 1997 - The domain,, is sold for $150,000.
  • 2000 - The Internet officially hits 1 billion indexable pages.
  • 2002 - Blogging begins its meander down the Internet path.
  • 2005 - There are a projected 1 billion users in the world, 200 million in the USA alone.

Is your website out there? Can it be found?

Understanding Website Statistics

Search engine statistics packages offer vital information for businesses that want to learn about their website traffic patterns. What kind of information can be gleaned from these stats? For one, we can find out how many visitors came to the website. We can also learn the key phrases that directed those visitors through search engines. Hourly breakdowns can help identify which radio or television marketing ideas generate higher success rates.

At Thunder Data Systems, we install the website traffic analysis tool, Awstats on every website so that both our client and our SEO team can analyze the statistical data of website visitors. In this tutorial, we will discuss how this data is derived, and how to interpret these values. Reading "Website Statistics."

Did you know...

Did you know that ... '
        ...'sometimes, always, never' describes the rules of fastening your jacket's three buttons from top to bottom?
        ...dining on fish as the guest of honor with a Chinese family allows you the reward of the choicest morsel--the head?
        ...asking your potential employer about pay in the first interview is considered a no-no?

It all comes down to accepted standards and best practices. And like fashion challenged men, unknowing visitors, and young interviewees, most business owners haven't the foggiest idea of what makes a good website.

Good content is little more than good sense. Putting it all together with creativity, functionality, and solid marketing plans are what we do best. Just think of us as the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy", Miss Manners, and Donald Trump all rolled up into one. Read "Factors in Design."


Magnetic Card Swipe Parsing

By Dawn Green, October 13, 2010
A step-by-step tutorial on how to parse data from a USB card reader in PHP using preg_match.
Read the Tutorial


Website Design Shouldn't Hurt! We specialize in web development from database programming to design. Painless web development and handholding is the core of our business. You go about your work, and we'll quietly help grow your business alongside you.