Software Development Services
Benefits of Having an Awesome Website

So you’ve thought about having a website for your small business or organization, but aren’t sure if having one is worth the investment? Regardless of the business goals of your website, having a web presence should be a part of any business plan. This article will talk about the benefits of having a website and how organizations can use their website to generate leads, engage with customers and save them money.

Benefit #1: Lead Generation and Demographic Data

Having a web development firm build you a website can be a significant investment, both in terms of time and money. However, one of the best benefits of having a professionally designed website is the ability to capture your visitors and convert them into leads for your organization.

It all starts by ensuring that you have a solid understanding of who your target audience is, what they are looking for when they land on your website, and how your organization can help. With that in mind, you can then develop a content strategy that aims to convert as many visitors as possible. Free tools such as Google Analytics or Heap then make it easy to track your visitors and determine if your plan is working (or provide you with the data needed to make changes if it isn’t).

Benefit #2: Credibility

Having a well-designed, easy to use website goes a long way towards establishing credibility for your websites visitors. Having an outdated website that is hard to find the information your visitors are looking for tends to turn people away. In fact, a study showed that 38% percent of website visitors would stop engaging if they determined the content or layout to be unattractive. That is a lot of missed opportunities. 

Benefit #3: Ease of Customer Interaction

Many people think that a website is simply a place to put information, but at its core, a well designed and maintained website is much more than that. Having the opportunity to get to know your customers through the use of social media and a blog will provide you with more information about what your customers are looking for and expecting from you. The easier it is for people to interact with your business, the more likely they are to remain a satisfied customer or to become one if they aren’t already. You can also design your website contents specifically to address your customers’ needs. This drives more visitors to your website as they are more likely to share this information with people they know through the power and reach of social media.

Benefit #4: Maintainability

Unlike print media, a website is easy to change and can be updated as frequently as needed. In addition, the cost to change content on a website is only measured through time, whereas a piece of printed material includes time and material. A website won’t replace the need for printed material, but a well thought out site with targeted content can supplement the print materials. You can easily use your website to provide your clients with printed materials through downloads, or provide your clients with video media that they can watch directly within your website.

Benefit #5: Workflow Automation

A lot of people think of websites as merely a place to show a visitor some information. While that is an essential part of their job, they can also be used to automate the internal business practices of their organizations. From creating simple reports to complex integrations, we have built a lot of scripts and tools for our clients over the years that have saved them money and increased efficiency.

As you can see, there are some compelling benefits to having a website for your organization. From lead generation to workflow automation to customer engagement, a website can go a long way to help propel your organization into the 21st century. 

Twitter Hashtag Best Practices
Best Practices for Using Hashtags on Twitter

If you are new to the world of Twitter, you may have been wondering what all those words are prefixed with the # symbol were. Well, those are hashtags, and if used correctly can be a big benefit to your Twitter based social media campaign. In this blog post, we are going to look at some of the best practices for using hashtags on Twitter.

First, let’s look at what a hashtag is. A hashtag is a word, with no punctuation or spaces, prefixed with a # and usually denotes a category or topic of a tweet (e.g. #programming or #drupal).

What a hashtag does is it provides a way to tie in different users tweets into a single conversation. These conversations can generally be accessed via the Twitter search function, or if you’re using a third-party tool such as HootSuite or TweetDeck, then you can access them there. So what are some best practices for using hashtags?

Don’t overuse hashtags

Best practices generally suggest that you limit your use of hashtags to two or less per tweet.

Research your hashtags

Before using a hashtag, it’s generally a good idea to do some research. Is the hashtag you wish to use already being used? If so, is it surrounding a conversation you wish to have your tweet be a part of? Also keep in mind that an overused hashtag could dilute your tweet due to sheer numbers, so be open to creating a new hashtag if that appears to be the case.

Use hashtags that are relevant to your industry

When determining which hashtags to use, it’s a good idea to use those that relate to your specific industry or event. If you are tweeting regarding an event such as “DrupalCon”, try to determine which hashtag is already being used (e.g. #drupalconparis). You can usually determine this by doing a search on Twitter for the phrase, or by looking on that event’s website or marketing material. Using the right hashtags can get your tweet in front of the audience of which it was intended.

Incorporate hashtags into other marketing material

Hashtags shouldn’t only be displayed on Twitter. In fact, some of the best ways for getting your hashtag used is to incorporate it into other aspects of your marketing material. Say you are sending a flyer in the mail regarding a sale you are having, you may want to include a hashtag on the marketing material to start a conversation around that sale.

Now that you have a better understanding of what hashtags are, and how to use them, I encourage you to go out there and tweet. Hashtags can be a great resource for using Twitter to maximize its marketing potential.

LightSky Acquires BlueSky Meeting

As of January 1st, 2017, LightSky has acquired BlueSky Meeting from Imagination Media, LLC.  Those of you who have been with us from the beginning may remember that BlueSky was originally a part of LightSky.  However, when we took ownership of LightSky in May of 2013, BlueSky was not a part of that transition.  After six years of dedicated service and commitment from Ryan Hochstetler and everyone at Imagination Media, we are excited to have the opportunity to lead BlueSky going forward.

What is BlueSky?

BlueSky Meeting Solution is a Software as a Service (Saas) product that makes it easy for organizations, large and small, to schedule, coordinate and conduct meetings online.  Over 200 school districts, government agencies, non-profits, and small businesses have used BlueSky to simplify their meetings.

Interested in BlueSky?

We have a lot of things planned for BlueSky and are soliciting ideas for new features and integrations.  If you, or someone you know, is interested in BlueSky, send us an email and let us know.  You can also subscribe to the BlueSky newsletter to stay updated on the progress of BlueSky as we move forward.

Distributed? What does it mean?
Distributed? What Does That Mean?

Probably the number one thing that I find myself explaining when I talk about LightSky is what exactly being distributed means and how that impacts our partners. The benefits of being distributed are seen in the quality of work we produce and the cost at which we produce it.  Simply put, there are no downsides.

Being distributed just means that we don’t have one central office, meeting place, or warehouse.  We all work from locations of our choosing.  For some it is the library, and some the coffee shop, but most of us work from our homes. We have the tools we need to work from wherever we choose. This is a huge benefit to LightSky and its partners. Several of our employees would never have the opportunity to join us if they had to move to a single location. Not only can we recruit and retain the best talent, we can do it with less overhead.  Our partners receive value from both the talent and cost savings, while our employees benefit from the flexibility. We don’t measure our employees by standing over their shoulders and making sure that they get their eight hours in. We have targets for everyone and grade by effectiveness and productivity.

Everyone dreams of providing for their family, making a difference professionally, and working for someone who understands that life is more than just your job.  While we value our partners and are committed to meeting their needs, we also believe that our employees work to live, not live to work. Building websites and developing software is just a small piece of what we each do. Some of us participate in motorsports, fly airplanes, jump out of airplanes (though I am personally not sure why you would do this), have kids, build models, and some of us even play video games- stereotypical, right? That is not what makes us distributed, just what makes us human.  Being distributed allows each of us live more fully.

We choose to be distributed because it allows us to bring together the best talent, the best atmosphere, the best product, and the best price. Our partners still get the same feeling as they would if we all worked in one place. They just can’t stop by the office to say hello to everyone. Distributed organizations are the way of the future, and LightSky is proud to help set the trend.

LightSky Ownership Change

For the last fourteen years, Ryan Hochstetler has grown LightSky from a small design boutique to a well established and respected web development firm. It is his continued dedication towards quality and innovation that has brought many of you into a relationship with us.  After fourteen years of leadership, Ryan has decided to step away to pursue new and exciting endeavors as of May 1st, 2013.

Over the last year, I have been working with Ryan to ensure that this transition goes as smoothly as possible. From your perspective very little will change. You will receive the same quality of service, from the same team members. The only change that you’ll notice is that our office headquarters is now located at 1505 Audubon Road, Lafayette Indiana 47909, and our telephone number is now (765) 588-5702.

If you have any questions or concerns, I’d like to encourage you to contact me. I can be reached either via email  at or via phone (765) 588-5702 ext 101.


Michael D. Hodge Jr
LightSky Design Studio
(765) 588-5702 ext 101