Go to CitrusKiwi's home page

Sponsored advertisement

Mobile v Responsive v App v Nothing

I was asked this week, whether, 1) A "mobile type" website is needed at all, and 2) if so, what type? That's a great question and, at least, showed that the asker was engaged with basic website design ideas, or, at the very least, wanting to know. As the old saying goes, "The stupidest question is the one never asked!"

Do I need a mobile version of any type?

First part - "Do you need a mobile ready version of your site?" An unequivocal, "YES!" There is no doubt that a website that is not easily viewed on a mobile device is already at a serious disadvantage. And, with 60% or more searches conducted on some type of mobile device, that puts your business in a bad internet state.

Which type to have?

The 4 types are in the headline - Mobile, Responsive, App, or Nothing. They all work a little differently, and all have pluses and minuses.


This was the first way we did mobile ready sites, and some still do. You'll see a URL starting with m.<domainname>.com. There's 2 main drawbacks of this way. Generally you end up running 2 separate sites (though not always) which means much more work keeping your site(s) up to date and greater potential for mistakes.

Also, mobile sites tend to be severely stripped down versions of the main site. Whilst this has the advantage of fast load times (a definite plus) for anyone familiar with your main site, it can be a source of incredible frustration as so much content has gone. Ebay and Craigslist were 2 glaring examples of this, though both have now gone to apps.


This is the current preferred method. Special code in the site template detects the type and size of device it's being viewed on and adapts to fit it. Depending on the ability of the designer, this is the most seamless transition from desktop to mobile website. And it's exactly the same site with just layout differences, meaning only one site to maintain.

This is our preferred method, and all our templates are built to be responsive. Clients get a very similar looking site (probably 80%+ is exactly the same) and all the content is there.


Apps have become increasingly popular recently. Like Mobile, they tend to be stripped down versions of the main site, but draw their content directly from the main site, so there's, generally, no need to maintain 2 sites. However, being stripped down, they can be frustrating for regular users of the main site. They also require the app to be installed on your mobile device.

You also should provide an app for each platform - currently that's Android, Apple, and Windows. So there can be quite an upfront expense in setting this up.


Don't! Period! Making visitors pinch and swipe to move around your site is bad. Get with technology and give them the best experience you can. Any decent designer can offer you a site that is responsive. If they cannot do this, then you should question what else they aren't skilled in.

| Views: 82

Why your website is a hacking target

I quite regularly hear clients and non-clients alike boldly proclaim their website is safe because it's small and insignificant. It doesn't have sensitive data such as credit card or social numbers on it. The reality is quite different.

The 3 main hacking reasons

Malicious "joyriders"

For want of a better term (and to be polite!) I'll liken them to someone who steals your car, races it round town, then crashes it into something and runs off. These hackers are in it to either hack you because you're there, to see if they can, or to deface your site, either with nasty stuff or to promote something that's "dear" to them.

This sort of hacking is usually very evident when you, or you client, visit the site.

Data thieves

These hackers are out for information, stuff they can either make use of - credit card details, social numbers, etc - or stuff they can sell - proprietary info, membership lists, etc. Unlike the "joyriders", being hacked like this is often hidden and goes undetected for quite some time. Recent examples of this are the wll known fiasco at Target, and, even more recently, Dairy Queen.

"Mule" trainers

Again, some literary license with the naming! I thought of the mules drug dealers use to transport drugs. Expendable and the drug traffickers really don't care about them. So it is with this class of classless hacker. They break into your site to plant trojans. These pieces of code can accomplish a number of things for them. The common ones are DOS (Denial of Service) attacks, or email spamming. Both these will get you (and your website) banned. Like the data thieves, this hacking can be undetected for some time.

How to stop hackers

Never go on the internet and don't have a website. And never load programs onto your computer unless they are from a reputable source and come shrink wrapped. If teenagers can hack the Pentagon, then none of us are safe. What you need to do is make yourself less attractive than the next guy.

Avoid shared hosting. Yes it's cheap. Of course it is - it generally has low grade security (if any), you're lumped in with who knows who, and bandwidth and space are usually oversold. If you're serious about your site, get a private server - they can be bought quite cheaply now.

Have good security enabled on your server. Not just set up, but activated (don't be the next Target!). You'll generally need someone knowledgeable about this to set it up right, but it's worth the cost to save enormous potential heartache.

Have good security on your site. This is as important as on the server. Install a solid component on your site and lock it down as hard as you can. 

Keep your site up to date. The best security product available can become redundant if you don't keep it up to date. But it's not just that. Every component on your site - the platform itself included - needs to be monitored and kept up to date. If your particular platform issues vulnerable extensions lists, then subscribe and watch for any of yours.

Keeping your site safe is much easier than having to restore it (assuming you take backups......) and the potential of being liable for cleanup costs from your host if your site was the one hacked.

| Views: 110

Flashlights apps stealing your data

Flashlight appA few weeks back, someone on Facebook alerted me to the raft of permissions I, and every other app user, blindly says "Yes" to when installling them. We give them permission to take photos and videos, send and receive messages, snoop round in our data. The list of permissions is truly staggering.

But this last week, I read that one of the worst culprits is the humble flashlight app - or more correctly, some of them. It seems that some of them have taken noseyness to a whole new level sending all types of info back to their authors. Take the "Super bright LED Flashlight" app. This is what it can do (YOU gave it permission to when you installed it!):

  • control flashlight - well that's what you'd expect, but...
  • retrieve running apps
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
  • test access to protected storage
  • take pictures and videos
  • view Wi-Fi connections
  • read phone status and identity
  • receive data from Internet
  • change system display settings
  • modify system settings
  • prevent device from sleeping
  • view network connections
  • full network access

While I'm very happy having a flashlight in my pocket, I don't really think it has any business taking photos and videos, testing network access, looking at my WiFi connections, or any of the rest. I want it to light someplace, not snoop in my life!

The FTC have sued the Flashlight Free app (a competitor), but in a typically lim wristed Government way. All they made them do is make a list of permissions WE'RE granting them on installation (formerly they didn't say). Well hurrah for amazing justice.... not! What about telling them that's illegal spying? Surely the Government doesn't want competition!! :-) But, of course, it's not illegal because we, the installers, gave them permission to.

So, before you install a flashlight app, look first at the size. They only need be a few kb, not Mbs like some of the worst ones. Then read the permissions before hitting agree.

| Views: 100

Google ordered... and complies

It's a truly wonderful thing to see giant, Google, lose one (or 2 in this case). From a designer's and SEO's point of view, Google is like living in olden days when one felt the need to "please the gods". With over 60-70% of search traffic, getting it wrong with Google is bad for business. Because of their economic situation, they have huge power to do pretty much whatever they feel like - even if it's wrong, who can afford to sue them?

However, 2 recent court cases have brought at least the glimmer of a smile to the "Google haters". First in Europe, and now Japan. Courts from both areas have ordered Google to "forget" individuals pasts - including debts, convictions and other "embarrassing" data under Europe's and Japan's tough anti-defamation legislation.

This all seems wondeful, and, for the individuals concerned, it probably is. However, when we view the stats on link removal, Google proudly claims it's removed more than 200,000 from it's search results. This after reviewing some 145,000 requests covering nearly half a million links. Do a search on almost any topic and you'll see page results of millions... is 200k really something to trumpet about? Especially when it's less than half the removals requested...

The requests for "online polishing" have been coming in at the rate of about 1000 a day since May when the Eurpoean court handed down its ruling. However, experts say we in the US are unlikely to benefit despite the double precedent. It's a logisitcal nightmare for one thing, and, secondly, already some groups are condemning the rulings as anti-freedom of speech.

| Views: 137

2 for the week

We're pleased to launch 2 new sites this last week, both sporting the new slider module we've recently gotten hold of. In the past we've avoided these types of sliders as they've been, in the main, Flash based and Flash doesn't display on Apple devices. As we try very hard to make sure your site displays correctly across all devices, then Flash was out IMHO.

However, with the advent of CSS3 and HTML5, the options have opened up, allowing sliders like these to be within the reach of everyone. To all my existing clients, we can now offer you this free of charge if you want it - that's the power of having 12 hours free maintenance every year - you never have to worry about how much it'll cost. A slider like the ones on these pages will use about -35 hours to set up depending on its complexity. So if you want one, please ask.

So here are the new sites - both local vendors: Phoenix greenhouse equipment and supplies, and West Phoenix Painting Contractors. Thanks for the business guys!

| Views: 159

Follow us

Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView my LinkedIn profile
CitrusKiwi Web Solutions, LLC BBB Business Review

Our clients say

Discount websites for 501 (c) organisations

Review us here

Review CitrusKiwi at Insider Pages
Review CitrusKiwi at Merchant Circle
Review CitrusKiwi at Thumbtack