Relational Database Design: A Best Practices Primer

database-design-development

http://www.riceconsultingllc.com/2012/database-building.php

Relational databases are the dynamic compartments of fundamental web and enterprise cloud applications. Relational databases normalize, sort and link data using tables and queries. The design is open to the interpretation of the database designer, but a poor database design can be disastrous for any business.

A poor design can slow performance, inhibit scalability and create bugs in an enterprise application. To avoid the pitfalls of poor design, a good design plan is critical.

Primary and Foreign Table Keys

Primary and foreign keys link tables together, so developers can query multiple tables in one Structured Query Language (SQL) statement. All tables require a primary key, and any tables that reference another table requires a foreign key to that primary key. For instance, if a database consists of customer information and the related customer orders, a primary key named “CustomerId” can be created in the “Customers” table and a foreign key named “CustomerId” is created in the “Orders” table. The customer ID field is always unique, so each customer is uniquely queried with its linked order. The result is that a programmer can query and display a customer with the customer orders.

Table Indexes

Essentially, the primary and foreign table keys create an index for the tables, but secondary indexes can also be created. Typically, indexes are created on fields that are used in the SQL “join” statements or columns where the programmer queries based on these column values. Indexes sort values for faster lookups and queries. Indexes can mean the different between a query that takes 10 minutes to run and 5 seconds to run.

Types of Table Relationships

Relational databases have two fundamental relationships: one-to-one and one-to-many. There is also the many-to-many relationship, but this type of relationship is not a normalized standard. Many-to-many relationships should be broken down to a one-to-one or one-to-many relationship.

A one-to-one relationship means one record in a primary table links to only one record in a secondary table. For instance, a customer can only have one login identity. The table design can include a main “Customer” table with the customer’s information, and then a “Login” table contains the customer’s login identity and password.

A one-to-many relationship means one record in the primary table links to several records in the secondary table. An example is the customer and orders relationship. A customer has one account, but a customer can have one or many orders. Linking the customer and orders table will result in several records dependent on the number of orders processed by the customer.

Table Normalization

Table normalization is standard in the industry, but each programmer and database designer has his own idea of proper normalization. Normalization is the process of reducing data duplication, increasing data stability and facilitating streamlined updates and deletions of data.

For instance, a new database designer might put “option 1″ and “option 2″ as database columns for a customer order. However, what happens if the customer has a third option or the business wants to expand to allow for a third option? This table design does not facilitate scalability for customer options. Using this example, the right way to normalize the database is to create an “Options” table and use primary and foreign keys to link the order and option tables. The “Options” table has a foreign key that contains the order number, and the SQL can link to an unlimited amount of options for the customer order.

After the basic database design is set up, there might be some tweaks and changes made to the layout after deployment. This is common with new database layouts, but these fundamentals will help the database admin fall into common configuration pitfalls that impede business growth based on the technology.

Jennifer Marsh is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

You’ve Got Comments. Now What?

Blog CommentsA client of mine asked a question the other day that got me thinking – “What should I do with all the comments on my blog and Facebook page?”  It was a question that required deeper understanding of their meaning, and when I inquired, she told me quite clearly, “We get so many comments that we don’t reply to them all.”

WOW.  That is a very important statement.  You have so many comments that you just don’t reply to them all???  After you give a presentation, do you answer questions?  If someone calls, do you not answer?

Most people are blogging to encourage participation.  I know this particular client certainly is.  She wants to be seen as an expert within her field, and often ends blog posts with questions encouraging responses.

So why, then, wouldn’t they answer each comment?  The easy answer is that they should, and for three main reasons:  comments build community, comments shows that you appreciate the readers time and effort in responding, and they encourage discussion among your readers.

But, there are more subtle ways that comments and your replies will help your blog.  Your answers may encourage more people to comment and weigh in on the discussion.  After all, people aren’t commenting just to hear themselves type.   Comments will also help with search engine optimization (SEO) since it is likely that comments will be re-iterating keywords used within your blog post making you more likely to rank for those keywords.  In addition, comments may use additional keywords that you hadn’t used, thereby helping you rank for those, as well.

In addition, your responses to blog comments help you build credibility and authority, which is most likely one of the reasons that you are blogging in the first place.  By responding to comments, you will be seen as the go-to expert in your specific topic.  It also shows a willingness to debate and learn from your readers.

There are some reasons why replying to all comments is not feasible or necessary, however.  There are some comments that just don’t require a response.  They are those comments like, “I agree!”, “Thanks.”, “Great Job!”  However, I believe any other comments, including ones that are discussing the merits of the blogs, should be addressed.  If you’ve asked for a response, don’t ignore them.

What do you think?  Should all comments be addressed?  What do you do with your own blogs?  How do you handle comments?  Let’s discuss it in the comments, and I’ll make sure to answer!

 

Resources:

To Reply or Not to Reply to Blog Comments – That is the Question

Responding (Or Not) to Blog Comments

Should I reply to every blog comment?

5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

The Benefits Of Using Linkedin To Promote Small Business

linkedinLinkedin is a social network designed specifically for professional connections. lf you are a small business contemplating going online, you should add a social network like Linkedin into your marketing mix. Linkedin allows you to connect with other business leaders and professionals in your industry so that you can engage in conversation, make partnerships, enjoy mergers and strike other profitable deals.
Like any marketing avenue, Linkedin offers a unique platform that helps you promote your business and get in touch with people who can influence others and recommend your business.

1. Be smart .. Start as you intend to finish
This means once you join Linkedin, please set up your profile to be as complete as possible. including references, a professional headshot, your company details, links to your company websites and any other vital information in portraying the professionalism you want people to see. Remember, unlike Twitter & Facebook, a lot of the posts you see and discussions are by professionals in your industry. Your ability to join in with those discussions will determine the level of success you can reach.

2. Decide what kinds of people you wish to meet
lt is also important to develop a list of people and companies you want to connect to. Target these people or companies and add them to your connections. Remember for each connection you add, your network will grow and you will have the ability of adding more connections through each original connection you added. Your network and influence can grow into thousands.

3. Get the people you already know onto your Linkedin profile
A great start to networking on Linkedin is to add people who are already your customers. Simply ask your present and past customers to join you and if they liked your services to recommend you. You can gain a lot of positive reviews through campaigning with previous clients.

4. Consider your brand power
By utilizing Linkedin you have a network that you can leverage your branding. lf you have a brand, and you want to showcase it, then simply do this with your connections and groups.

5. Join Groups
The easiest way to start conversations with professionals in your industry is by joining some well respected groups. You can easily add your own voice to the discussions at hand and develop leading connections with people who are in your line of business. You can showcase your knowledge and ask leading questions which can turn into discussions. You can then add the people who reply to your connections.

6. Don’t spam
The easiest thing in the world to do is to deliver emails with sales pitches on Linkedin. This is frowned upon and rarely works. lf you want to touch base with someone,just leave them a welcoming personal note. Don’t attempt to sell your services. Instead build your relationships.

7. Add your other social accounts
You are able to add your Twitter account. Also add your other websites and blogs. This will ensure people can see a snapshot of your profile on various platforms all on one single page.
Once you have completed a company profile and added a few connections, you will begin to grow your network. Don’t be afraid to reach out and show off your credentials.

This is a guest post of Ludwing Hernandez, Young full time web entreprenuer. He like write about business promoting techniques. Follow Ludwing at Zinzz.com.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Justin Handley on Digital Business Hour

Justin Handley

Justin Handley founded the Narasopa Media in 2000, and has steadily built it over the last 12 years. The first five years were spent experimenting and learning, doing everything from web design to ghost writing books on marketing. Working behind the scenes for some of the world’s top marketers Justin gained a solid foundation in the essentials of online marketing and project management, and was a project manager on things as varied as Virtual Family Kingdom, a virtual world that went to 200,000 users in 30 days, Cisco’s AS3 reseller management application, the online multi-player version of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

In the last five years just has completely built four online businesses from the ground up.  Every one has hit 1 million dollars in less than 12 months.

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

LET ME TELL YOU A STORY

INTRODUCTION
Social media is all about telling stories. Technology continues to make it easier, faster and more appealing to tell, share and even re-share our stories. It has also become about telling our stories in both words and pictures. The bluebird sings the social media theme song, at right, ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’. 

a blue bird sings the social media story

A bluebird singing the social media song, ‘Let Me Tell You A Story’ from an image @ 123rf.com

VERBAL STORIES
Up until about a year ago, the story telling method was primarily verbal. Thanks to the meteoric rise in popularity of Pinterest, Instagram and other visual tools, it is clear that people want the option of using pictures, not just words, to tell and view things.

Look how dramatically facebook’s landscape has changed to include massive visual real estate. See the facebook timelines for business cover page at the end of this story.

VISUAL STORIES
The verbally based social media tools have known this for sometime. Google purchased YouTube. Yahoo purchased flickr. Facebook acquired Instagram and no one has been able to buy Pinterest.

It stands heads above most other social media, has done so in record time and is believed to be the first visual application to accomplish this. In addition, there is ground breaking news that the White House will start using Pinterest on December 17, 2012.

SOCIAL MEDIA APPS
Both verbal and visual apps have unique characteristics and value. Amongst the most popular are: • facebook • twitter • LinkedIn • WordPress • Google • Pinterest • YouTube • Instagram

WordPress sharing bar

Sharing  is  a click away.

STORY TELLING
Users have their preferences and loyalties for story telling and sharing. There are formulas for sharing stories that vary with users. As one becomes more proficient in the use of social media, these formulas develop into personal systems.

There is no one system that is the answer to sharing for everyone. But certain apps and combinations of them work well. In time, we each discover what fits our style. WordPress makes this very easy with their sharing button bar shown at left.

STORY SHARING
For example, let’s say a story is written in Word. It then can become a blog post in WordPress with still images, video and even audio. Once the story is written, it needs to be shared. Certain venues have proven to be most successful at this. In fact, in order to make sharing a breeze, sharing buttons are installed right on blog post pages.

Why is sharing so important? Sharing attracts attention, engages an audience, allows one to stay connected manually and automatically, fosters the development of  trusted relationships and ultimately can increase business or establish a personal, professional presence.

CONCLUSION
One may not be looking to provide a service or even a product in the traditional sense of business. Providing and sharing information is the essence of social media. Just think about how much we know, how easily we can learn and share things compared to a generation ago. It is all due to social media allowing us to tell our stories.

Do you have a story that you would like to share, one that social media has enhanced or caused to go viral? Would you like to share or comment about this blog post? Your comments, suggestions and feed back are all part of the story. Please share with us in the comments area. Thank you from the author.

The Social Media Marketing Graphic Design page

facebook’s new timelines for business has given tremendous opportunities for visual real estate as shown in the example here. ©http://www.MarketingBytes.biz and http://www.facebook.com/PageCoverMastery

 

SOURCES

Amy Porterfield’s FB Influence 2.0 Webinar

Bringing Your Marketing To Life Through Video by Dr. Marc and Charlie

Obama White House joins Pinterest


About Alison Gilbert

Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.

Laura George on Digital Business Hour

Laura C George

 


Laura C George
, a business coach for creative types, shares her tips on Holly’s Digital Advice.  Laura talks creativity on art and gives you her 4 Tips to Social Media Ease! Laura will describe the personalities of each social media platform and why you have to accept the process of monetizing relationships, once and for all.

Holly will explore with Laura the following:

  • 4 Tips to Social Media Ease-
  • approaching different social media platforms for business (the personalities)
  • monetizing relationships (ethics and accepting)
  • What do I post on social media?

Laura also shares how she found her passion and is now helping other people find their own niche and market it in a creative way!

E-Mail Marketing – The First Social Network

Email -- The First Social NetworkE-mail has been around since before the dawn of the internet.  That’s right, in the early 1970’s, the Federal Government was sending messages through the United States Department of Defense network, which handled over 30 million messages per month.

As we began to move more onto the information super-highway, services like Compuserve, Prodigy, and America On-Line began to proliferate, making it incredibly easy for everyone to have an e-mail address.  In fact, at the height of AOL’s dominance, they had over 30 million members worldwide (they only serve about 2.9 million subscribers, as of October 2012).  In contrast, Facebook has over 1 billion members, as of September 2012.

What made e-mail so “social” was the ease at which your messages could be forwarded to your entire address book.  If you wanted to share with friends and family, all you had to do was hit the “forward” button, and they were all able to participate in the discussion.

Fast forward to today, and most businesses are marketing through e-mail, but that doesn’t mean that they are “doing it right.”  Just using this “social network” isn’t enough.  We need to ensure that our e-mail marketing is accomplishing its goals of increased business, increased lead generation, and increased market share.  The big question, then, is what are some best practices in e-mail marketing?

Best Practices

1. Write compelling Subject Lines

  • Keep it short and simple and incorporate the benefit of opening the e-mail.

2. Set your objective and then choose the appropriate frequency

  • Are you trying to promote, inform, or relate to your audience?

3. Call your audience to action

  • You are sending the e-mail for a reason.  Make sure they know it.

4. Make sure they recognize the “From” address

  • They may know your company name, but not yours.  Make sure the email comes from someone they “know.”

5. Keep your main message and call to action “above the fold”

  • This is “news speak” for making sure that the important information is seen without scrolling the message.

6. Be mindful of mobile devices

  • Statistics say that 38% of email is opened on a mobile device and only 33% is opened on a desktop, so make sure the fonts and images will look good on your recipients mobile devices.

7.  Make sure to use alt-text for your logo and pictures

  • This is text that describes the pictures and logos should images be turned-off on your web browser, smart phone or e-mail client.  That way your recipient knows what should be in the image’s place.

In addition to the tips above, always make sure that you are abiding by the “Can-Spam Act”, which requires the following:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information;
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines;
  3. Tell recipients where you are located;
  4. Honor opt-out requests;
  5. There needs to be a relationship between the sender and receiver.

If you follow these best practices and requirements, then your e-mail marketing is on the right track to continuing the social nature of e-mail marketing.

What subject lines to you find work the best? The worst?  Do you feel that you get too much e-mail?  Sound off in the comments below.

 

Resources:

Wikipedia – Email

Wikipedia – AOL

Constant Contact – The Value of E-Mail Marketing Video

9 Email Marketing Best Practices to generate More Leads

CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business

Constant Contact

AWeber

MailChimp

Mobile email usage statistics

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

3 Design Mistakes That Kill Your Business Blog

Many businesses are turning to blogs as an extension of their marketing collateral. Blogs are a great way to provide insight to your audience, give them an easy way to get to know you and allow them to build a relationship with you so that you can achieve brand loyalty.

Some companies have very successful blogs. They produce the content their audience wants and they have an aesthetically pleasing design that makes their site easy to navigate.

On the other hand, there are some businesses that cannot find success with their blog. Most businesses assume that the content is to blame, but oftentimes, the problem lies in the design. The following are three common design mistakes that could end up killing your blog.

1. It’s too busy.

Though you may not think that it’s fun, a busy background and busy font can make people turn away the minute they land on your blog. Bright backgrounds with bright fonts can be hard for your audience to look at. Plus, if your background is too busy, they may not be able to focus on the content, which is the most important part of your blog.

Crazy fonts can also be hard for your audience to read. If you use something other than a simple font, your audience may have a hard time figuring out the words on your blog. And along with the font, you also want to make sure that the size of your font is not too small or too big.

2. The navigation is confusing.

You don’t want your readers to simply land on a blog post, read it and leave. You want them to land on a blog post, read it, and stick around for a while perusing past blog posts and possibly even getting back to your website. This is where simple navigation is essential. If your navigation is hard to find or hard to read, your audience is not going to stick around. Don’t be cute with titles for your navigation. If the navigation is leading to a page about your company, use “About Us” as a title. If your audience doesn’t understand where a link will take them, they’ll be hesitant to click on it.

You also want to make sure that your navigation is easy to find, such as along the top or along the left-hand side. This is how most websites are set up, and this is how most Internet users expect to see a site. While placing your navigation somewhere different shows that you’re unique, it can also frustrate your audience trying to find it.

3. Your audience can’t share your posts.

The more your blog content is shared, the more traffic you’ll receive. Thanks to social networks, sharing your blog content is easy, but if you don’t have share features on your blog, you’ll never see the virality that some blogs do. When a reader lands on a blog that interests them, they may be inclined to share it with their fans, friends and followers through social media. If you don’t have a share button, they’re not going to take the time to copy and paste the URL. Instead, they simply won’t share the info, which means that your blog posts aren’t reaching as wide of an audience as you possibly can.

Jacob Smith is a business owner and avid blogger.  He created his own business blog and used the wordpress themes business layouts.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Engaging the B2B Buyer with a Digital Strategy

Jacqui Kearns of D&B on Marketing Made Simple TV

Engaging B2B Buyers w Jacqui Kearns of D&B on Marketing Made Simple TV

Join VP of Digital Marketing, Jacqui Kearns as she shares tips on creating a digital strategy to engage B2B buyers on Marketing Made Simple TV. (http://www.marketingmadesimple.tv) Click the full screen button for optimal viewing experience. This show is sponsored by Hoovers, a Dun and Bradstreet company and includes an offer of 200 free leads. Click the button in the show to accept this great offer.

Engaging B2B buyers should be built upon 3 foundational elements.

You will learn how to use these three:

  1. How to integrate online and offline advertising, inc radio and calls to action.
  2. Why search engine marketing matters inc long tail
  3. Leveraging non-paid channels and understanding buyers.4) How to leverage technology like Eloqua (http:www.eloqua.com) to engage buyers.

Marketing Made Simple TV is produced by Find New Customers and hosted by Jeff Ogden, President of Find New Customers.

Marketing Made Simple TV is sponsored by Avitage, DigitalEthos, Communication Strategy Group, and Watchtoo and publishes a new show every Thursday at noon ET at Marketing Made Simple TV and all of our syndication sites. Tune in each week to learn from the very best!

About Jeff Ogden

Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancyFind New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

Startup Hiring Tips: Use Creativity and Technology to Find the Right People

Hiring new employees for any startup can be a real challenge. Dipping into the gene pool and trying to pluck out the best and brightest to bring on board can present a problem depending on the size of your company. Smaller companies need people who can fill many roles. Many startups are lean and mean with little or no extra time to spend reviewing resumes, interview countless applicants and come to a consensus as to who is right for the job. Time may be scare but in a world of technology and innovation here are some creative ways to streamline the hiring phase.

Corporate Culture Conveyed Through Craigslist

Craigslist can be a powerful tool to bring potential team members into the company. Unemployment is around 10% making the sheer volume of potential employees hunting Craigslist for a new job very large. The key to getting the right people for your company and not simply getting overly qualified individuals can be done with a creative advertisement. Take a look at what category the listing may appear and pick the best one. One look at the front page of Craigslist and you will see one of the largest categories is for jobs. This may seem simple but it should not be overlooked.

Next create a listing that sells your startup’s culture. One easy way to convey cultural identity is through a few pictures of the office and maybe even the team. You will notice on the job listings pages that almost none of the advertisements have an attached picture. Pictures can set you apart from the rest and may weed out people who might not fit in well with your company.

Use Registration Forms to Screen Applicants

The resume is essentially useless when it comes to making a decision about hiring. It serves as a great way to start a conversation but leaves too much to the imagination when it comes to the true identity of a person. The real test for a potential hire is how effectively they can communicate. Communication skills are magnified 10 fold in a small startup because everyone talks to everyone. There is no room to hide in a small office space filled with “startup minded” people. Using phone interviews can be effective in testing communication skills but unless you record the conversation chances are you will forget the meat of what was said and simply be left with you impression. If you capture the ideas in writing then it may serve you and your team better while making a decision. Try using a online form, like a registration form, that you can customize with a few questions to really test the communication skill and style of your potential talent. This will also prove them in their writing ability. Make no mistake; everyone must be able to communicate both verbally and by the written word to succeed in a startup.

The Bottom Line

A startup should always be in the hiring phase ready to snatch up the best and brightest. If you always have your feelers out then you and your team of highly motivated, work 60+ hours a week at any cost, will find people you need to prosper. Using creative Craigslist ads and simple technology, like customized online forms, finding the right people just might not be so hard.

Jared Jaureguy is a Technology Consultant who has helped many startups implement the best use of technology to achieve their goals. You can follow Jared on Twitter @JaredJaureguy.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

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