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The Forbin Blog

Nov 10

Goal-Minded: The Importance of Setting Goals for Your Website

Posted by vgmforbin in Web Development Process

Goals keep your website development process focused and let you know how well your website is performing after launch

“What are your goals?”

Chances are you’ve been asked this question throughout your life. It may have been in a job interview, by your fiancé’s parents or by your own parents. Having goals in your life is a way to tell if you’ve met the expectations for yourself and helps you know if you’ve made it.

The same approach should be brought to any website project. Having goals during development helps keep the focus on building a site that meets your target audience’s needs. Goals are also crucial after the site is live to ensure it keeps performing and to push traffic to the right places that allow you to do business better. It’s an integral part of the web development process here at VGM Forbin.

Let’s take an in-depth look at both of these types of goals…

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Nov 10

Giving Thanks for a Busy Year at VGM Forbin

Posted by vgmforbin in General

thankfulness

As we turn our calendars to November, it’s time for us to start thinking about Thanksgiving. And while all of us at VGM Forbin are looking forward to a large meal and spending time with our families on November 27, we also want to take a moment to give thanks for all the strides that we’ve made as a company in 2014.

 

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Oct 20

Ask the Audience: Why Customer Input is Crucial for Your New Website

Posted by vgmforbin in Web Development

Give your customers a voice by asking what they want to see in your new website

Who knows, you may learn something valuable from them!

Humans are needy; it’s a basic fact of life. One of our most pressing needs is to have the approval of others or to please an audience. That’s the premise of social media:

  • You post an awesome picture of a sunset, then nervously wait for people to like, comment on or share it on Facebook.
  • You write a witty or hilarious tweet, then check your phone constantly to see how many retweets and favorites it has.
  • You post this sweet video you worked for days on YouTube and check back every 15 minutes to see how many views and comments it has.

 

You need to make sure that whatever you do, whatever you create is accepted by others. When things go wrong, you don’t want others to be angry with you and continue criticizing you. You try and rectify the situation and make things right.

 

This same need can and should be recognized as a useful tool when you’re in the planning stages for a new website. You need to ask your target audience what would make their experience easier and more enjoyable. 

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Oct 20

6 Slammin’ Sites Added to Forbin’s Website Launch Leaderboard in 2014

Posted by vgmforbin in Banking, Customer Websites, Website Launches

6-slammin-sites

While we were planning our 20th anniversary that took place in early September, we were also working hard on several new websites for clients across different industries. Here are a sampling of websites that we designed that were unveiled in the last couple of months.

 

EZ-ACCESS – ezaccess.com

 

EZ-ACCESS’ new website allows users to better navigate their way through products while also connecting them with three new tools to more easily decide which product is best for them. The new tools—the Ramp Selector, Incline Calculator and Dealer Locator—increase efficiency and allow customers to determine what products best fit their home or business.

 

By going outside of our PowerWeb template, every facet of EZ-ACCESS’ site was reworked to improve the user’s experience while creating new infrastructure and interfaces. Creating a new website from scratch to fit EZ-ACCESS’ specifications required a lot of creative thinking from our entire team. But now, the website has been fitted with all new product descriptions for residential and commercial products that can be viewed from anywhere thanks to its mobile platform.

 

ChildrenFirst Home Health Care System – childrenfirsthealthsystem.com

 

Central Florida’s ChildrenFirst Home Health Care System now has a website to connect parents and care providers of medically fragile children to resources and services.

 

With landing pages built by our team to help the company’s staff see what pages people are visiting most, the staff has total control over what content is posted and can let customers know what services are available at each of their locations.

 

We always appreciate hearing kind words from our clients, and ChildrenFirst paid us a nice compliment when they updated us on how the new site was working.

 

“I can’t express enough the gratitude and respect that I have for each of you. We finally made it. The site is very impressive and our owners are extremely pleased with the final product,” said Brian Justice, Contract Administrator for ChildrenFirst.

 

Raccoon Valley Bank – raccoonvalleybank.com

 

Based in our BankWeb line and customized to fit their needs, Raccoon Valley Bank’s website went live in August and has been well-received by its clients thanks to a new content management system that gives the staff more control over messages to customers.

 

The Raccoon Valley Bank home page has also been designed to show the social media feeds from the bank’s blog and Facebook page, allowing customers to see content written specifically for the bank by Forbin’s web marketing team.

 

For customers, the new website gives them the ability to make loan applications online. Those applications are submitted to our VPanel system, which allows them to be stored securely. The new website gives more direct access to customers and allows them to find the service they are searching for faster.

 

Bank of Blue Valley – bankbv.com

 

Since going live in mid-September, the usability of Kansas’ Bank of Blue Valley website has dramatically increased. Our team’s work helped make navigation easier after we reorganized and simplified categories on the site.

 

Bank staff can now make changes and add content, something that was difficult in their old system. We also added several features that allow the bank’s customers to fill out information online. Now, a customer can apply for a consumer loan or fill out a mortgage inquiry form with total confidence that their information will be secured in VPanel system.

 

The launch of the website was the capstone to a busy six-month period for Bank of Blue Valley. The bank completely rebranded itself and we were happy to provide them with a beautiful new website to enhance that new brand.

 

Milledgeville State Bank – milledgevillebank.com

 

What a difference a few months of work makes. Milledgeville State Bank’s site saw a lot of changes when it went live in early September. Like many of our new sites, it’s aesthetically pleasing and easier to navigate for the user.

 

Our new navigation layout allows customers to find what they’re looking for more quickly. But it’s not only customers that are having an easier time with the new site. Our new content management system, based in our BankWeb program, gives Milledgville State Bank’s staff control over what appears on their site.

 

Exchange State Bank – exchangestatebank.net

 

The biggest change in the website for Exchange State Bank—located in Martelle, Iowa—is there is an easy-to-follow navigation plan to the website, a vast improvement over the bank’s previous system.  The site now has drop-down menus, which added structure and allows the user to find what they’re looking for much faster.

 

Exchange State Bank is also getting into the social media game with customized content coming from Forbin’s web marketing team. On top of that, we’ve given the site’s users more tools with things like financial calculators and giving them a contact page to reach out to the bank’s staff.

 

We’re incredibly proud of the work our teams put in to make these sites possible. Completing these sites took a collaborative effort from our programming, web marketing, design and sales teams, but that’s our specialty here at Forbin.

Oct 16

Is Your Business Social? If Not, You’re Missing Out

Posted by vgmforbin in Social Media

Be where your customers are and go to know them through social media  with your business

Be where your customers are and get to know them through social media!

There are numerous competitive advantages to having an active social media presence for your company, regardless of your size or industry.

 

Remember when “social media” was a buzzword, an unprofitable fad that would pass by just as quickly as it came? Well, that prediction certainly didn’t turn out to be right, did it?

 

Today, social media incorporates dozens of platforms, including household names like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as some not-so-famous ones like Delicious, Digg, and Vimeo.

 

All of these social platforms offer much more than just somewhere to showcase the food you just took a picture of or post cute kitten videos. For businesses, social media offers a way to increase the public’s awareness of your company, create a positive reputation and yes, even drive a little business your way. However, getting started isn’t always easy.

 

As we said, there are dozens of social platforms to choose from. There are also two questions that need to be answered: “Why should you use social media?” and “How do you get started?”

 

Let’s discuss.

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Oct 15

5 Reasons Why You Need to Update Your Ancient Website

Posted by vgmforbin in Web Development

Think you're website is fine? Here are a couple of reasons to as to why you should consider updating your website.

In the “Digital Age” a website created using modern standards is a tremendous competitive advantage

When you hear the word “ancient” you most likely think of fossils in a museum or the crumbling ruins of past civilizations. However, in web terms, ancient is used to refer to anything as close as three or four years ago.

 

“But what about my company website that was just built in 2010?” you might ask. Outdated. Dinosaur-esque. Ancient.  (more…)

Oct 6

Code from the Crypt: Why You Should be Scared of Open Source Code

Posted by vgmforbin in Customer Websites, Programming, Web Development Process, Website Content

Beware if your CMS uses open source code, as it code lead to a little shop of horrors for your website.

Beware if your CMS is based on open source code – it could lead to a little shop of horrors for your website!

When it comes to your website’s content management system and back end, what you don’t know CAN hurt you.

We know most people aren’t tech-savvy enough to know the ins and outs of programming code. Fortunately, we have some incredibly knowledgeable programmers on our team to help us be able to understand the ins and outs of code, and in turn, explain it to you.

 

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your company’s website, especially if it uses what is called “open source code.” We’d like to help you understand what open source code is, why it is a popular choice and the serious risks that come with using it. We’ll also discuss some great solutions VGM Forbin has created to replace open source systems.  (more…)

Oct 6

20 Years of Doing Web Stuff Rolled Into One Open House

Posted by vgmforbin in Forbin Events

The Open House started with a ribbon cutting with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber

Our friends at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber helped get the Open House off to a great start with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. To celebrate our 20th anniversary and the first year of being in our new office space, Forbin invited clients and Cedar Valley community members to our official Open House on Sept. 3. Hundreds of people turned out to see Forbin’s unique work environment, learn more about the services we provide and renew or begin relationships. It wouldn’t be a proper open house without an official ribbon cutting ceremony. Fortunately, our friends over at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber just happened to have some ribbon and ginormous golden scissors available for such an occasion. After Forbin General Manager Jeremy Kauten did some sheering work for a photo op, everyone headed inside to get the party…er, open house, started.  (more…)

Aug 29

20 Years of Doing Web Stuff

Posted by vgmforbin in Forbin History

 

history-blog-header-image

After getting our start as a web hosting and dial-up email service provider, Forbin has become a leader, locally and nationally, in all things web.

Twenty years is a long period of time, whether you’re talking about a person’s age, the age of a rather tasty bottle of wine or how long a particular web company based in Waterloo, IA has been doing web stuff. However, the VGM Forbin that’s alive, kicking, and creating today is a far cry from what it was two decades ago. Before the creative workspace and large team of salespeople, web marketers, designers and programmers, there was one guy with a basement full of modems.  (more…)

Aug 29

Office Space: The Evolution of a Creative Work Environment

Posted by vgmforbin in Uncategorized

VGM Forbin's modern and creative workspace

The entrance to Forbin sets the tone for a creative web experience

After moving and sharing space for most of the last 20 years, Forbin moved into new digs in February designed specifically for our unique work style.

Every wall at VGM Forbin is influenced by some sort of creativity and imagination. Located in Waterloo, IA just five minutes from the VGM Group’s main campus, there is no doubt about the inspiring passion that lives and breathes in our workspace. And it starts with the walls.

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