Marketing Websites vs Web Applications

We are often asked if we build “websites” – yes we do, but there is nuance to the answer. The websites that we build are better defined as “Web Applications”. And a “Web Application” is different from another type of website – a “Marketing Website”. How are these two different? In short: A Marketing Website presents information about a topic or business and a Web Application helps users get something done. The table below describes many of the differences between a Marketing Site and a Web Application. Since Matraex is the #1 Web Applications development firm in the Boise market – people looking for a local ‘Website Designer’ will often reach out to us – I added some links to the Google My Business page for several long term and reliable local resources to help people understand the different companies that comprise these different categories of “Website” builders.

Marketing Website Developers

Web Application Developers

The key differences between a Marketing Website and a Web Application

Marketing WebsiteWeb Application
PurposeA marketing website’s goal is to provide information, most of these are corporate business sites providing details of a company’s offerings with resources, contact information and links to related industryA Web Application is a website that helps a user accomplish something through its interfaces.
Development processA Marketing Website can be developed by creating and approving a design, building on the information and content and then applying the design to the content.A Web Application starts as an idea and forms into a list of features (a roadmap) with the most important features first. The developers implement the items in order of the roadmap. More sophisticated applications often have multiple environments so the complex logic can be tested be approving features to be moved to launch.
Time to launchAn entry Marketing Website can take between one week and one month depending on complexity and number of pages. An entry Web Application MVP (minimum viable product), can take 2 to 6 months to launch.
Time RequirementsMost time goes to creating content and managing SEO. A larger one time cost to design the interface and layout is a close secondMost time is spent in developing code to create features and functionality.
TeamA project manager, a content creator, and a front-end developer.Project manager and a full stack developer. Larger teams will have roles split into back-end and front-end developers.
Hosting CostLess expensive – MANY SOLUTIONS!More expensive – the hosting is often decided by the technology stack and development group. Modern applications use cloud based hosting which only charge for usage, but can scale to high levels
Common Technology PlatformsWordPress, Wix, SquarePHP, React.js, NodeJS, ASP.NET, java
SpecialtiesHTML / CSS / Design / Front End
SEO / Content Generation /
Design / Copywriting
Programming / Database / Logic / Backend
Testing / User Experience / QA
Innovation / Security

Are Apps Software?

Are apps software? Can apps be software?

Apps are to software as snakes are to reptiles.

By that text above you probably got the answer already but we wanted to break it down even further. Snakes are reptiles, and reptiles are snakes…and lizards…and turtles… and crocodiles.

Apps are software and software is apps…mobile apps…web apps…programs.

We had to clarify the difference between mobile and web apps because frankly there is one. A mobile app is a software that is used on a mobile device such as a phone. A web app is a software that is used on a device with access to a website. Phones act as computers nowadays so sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the two.

Most commonly your mobile app is one of the squares on your phone with round corners.

You may not even realize you’re using a web app. You might just think you’re on a website (and you’re not wrong). The web app allows a user to interact with the website in a way that a normal website can’t. Think PayPal or Venmo. Those are web apps within websites (and they’re mobile apps as well).

Sometimes for the sake of differentiation, it’s easier to just say app when referring to software on your phone and websites for software on the web. Just know, that apps are software and snakes are reptiles.

3 Ways to Improve Your Boise Website Design in 2016

3 Ways to Improve Your Boise Website Design in 2016

Here are 3 Ways to Improve Your Boise Website Design in 2016. Google now applies a score to your website by checking to see if it is mobile-friendly. Another important update for 2016 is to build brief, easy to read content. The third website checkup is for fast page loading. All three combined help build an easy to read website, that loads quickly, and scores well with the search engines.


Also known as responsive design, restructures and adjust various content sizing depending on the device the visitor is using. For example, if Joe from Boise, Idaho visits this page on his desktop computer, he will get a full, wide-screen content rich experience. If Kelly from Garden City, Idaho were to visit this same page on your iPhone 6, she would be served the same content but slightly adjusted. Some photos would be scaled down to fit the smaller screen better, the text would be increased for easier readability. Finally, the content would all be stacked up for easy vertical scrolling. No content would be tiny or pushed off the side of the screen. Thus, Kelly would be presented with a mobile-friendly website design.

Easy to Read Content

The search engines also apply a readability analysis of the content on a web page. Statistics show that many visitors on the Internet are not masters of the English language. Therefore, simple, short sentences make it easier for you to communicate your message and obtain better search engine results.

Fast Page Loading

Finally, the third way to improve your Boise Website Design in 2016 is to have your website optimized for speed. Boise Website DesignNo one likes waiting for slow loading web pages and the search engines have come to realize this. So in some cases, the faster your website loads, the better it helps your search engine rankings.

The 3 Ways to Improve Your Boise Website Design in 2016 are mobile-friendly website design, easy to read content, and fast page loading times. If you are interested in a free quote or website design analysis, please contact us at (208) 344-1115.

Website WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise

Website WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise

I was asked recently, what kinds of work do you do for your clients.Website, WordPress, PHP Custom Application Development Boise

The short answer is “Matraex, Inc provides Website WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise to small businesses

Below I describe our services in more depth.

Contact me to discuss what we can do for you – Michael Blood – 208.344.1115 x 250

Matraex, Inc – Nationwide Web Services

  • We design online presence websites in WordPress.
  • We custom build web applications for businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals with ideas.
  • We create custom automation and time saving software using the web.
  • We support, refresh, repair and enhance existing websites and custom applications.
  • We provide Managed WordPress Hosting services.
  • We build, host and support custom scale-able hosting environments.

Matraex, Inc – Basic consulting and technology list

Matraex Inc, – Boise, Idaho Web Services:Website WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise

While we work for clients nationwide. A large percentage of our clients are from here in Boise, Idaho. When items become complex we are able to work directly with clients in our office onsite at our client’s office. We communicate via skype or just on the phone.

WordPress Website Developmentwordpress-development

WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP.  WordPress allows Matraex, Inc to quickly create a beautiful online presence for your business and the give you the ability to login and make simple updates to your site.  It is the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS)

We offer WordPress  Website Development solutions that are compatible with all business models and industry verticals. Our team of WordPress developers provides WordPress CMS development, plugin development. Also theme customization and maintenance services as well as ongoing security and update services through our Managed WordPress Hosting.

When you engage Matraex, Inc  to build or enhance your online, unless you have another tool in place. We will likely recommend that we develop your marketing presence using the WordPress Content Management System.  Depending on your vertical and your website needs we will either find existing WordPress plugins. We also build new plugins which add the needed custom touch to your website.

WordPress Plugin Development

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that can be uploaded to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site.  Matraex, Inc builds custom plugins such as this,  any time that our client needs are not met with the base WordPress Package.

In each of these situations,  Matraex, Inc relies on its deep knowledge of WordPress. Also the WordPress SDK and the PHP programming language to implement new and innovative website features.

Legacy WordPress Plugin Repair and Replacement

In many cases we have customers with existing WordPress websites with plugins which are out of date. Even some what wont work with newer versions of WordPress,  in these cases we can:

  • Find an up to date WordPress Plugin which replaces the functionality of the out of date plugin
  • Make changes to the WordPress Plugin code to bring it up to date or
  • Build a replacement plugin made for the current version of WordPress.

Custom Web Application DevelopmentWebsite WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise

Matraex, Inc works with entreprenuers, business owners and individuals with ideas to define innovative Web based applications and solutions which solve real world problems.   Our team takes stakeholders through a process to define problems and craft potential solutions.  From this we build a project that  our clients want and the Matraex team can commit to.  We then work closely with the client to get constant feedback throughout the development process to implement a fabulous product.  Each of our Custom Web Application projects are implemented into a production hosting environment,  where we continue to support them as needed.

Web Task Automation

Most people that work within a small business recognize problems and issues within their industry that need to be fixed.   Small tasks which take up more time,  than the value they provide.  They often know that if they had the software,  the task could be automated.   Matraex, Inc builds the custom software that provides this automation.   We work with our clients,  the industry professionals who understand the issues. We create software which reliably accomplishes and automates the tasks.   We periodically followup on the process to confirm that the software continues to accomplishes what has been intended or whether it could be improved.

PHP Developmentphp-development

PHP Powers nearly 70% of websites and has emerged as the most preferred & widely used server-side language.  Historically, 90% of our development projects have been done with PHP. All new development projects are done using PHP, whether it is within the WordPress CMS. The laravel Framework, uses other composer packages. Or a custom frameworkless PHP project using a homegrown library of functions.

Matraex builds PHP websites using MySQL, Linux and Apache which is popularly known as the LAMP platform.   We are able to launch new LAMP shared or dedicated development and production environments in minutes at one of our two redundant Data Centers (Involta and Fiberpipe)

Our company’s PHP Development Services offer multipurpose solutions that encapsulate the following:

  • PHP Web Development
  • PHP Application Development
  • Custom PHP Development
  • PHP Software Customization and Integration
  • PHP Porting and Migration
  • Packaged PHP Applications
  • PHP Professional Services
  • PHP Outsourcing

MySQL and Postgres Database Administrationmysql-database-administration

The custom applications that Matraex, Inc develops integrate with a database to store persistent application data.  Some applications like WordPress automatically setup and  manage all aspects of the MySQL database architecture. But our custom applications require database administration (DBA) services for setup and maintenance.   Matraex, Inc has Oracle Certified MySQL Administration experts to address the Database needs of these custom applications.

Matraex, Inc internally follows very stringent Database Naming conventions which we have used for more than 10 years.  These standards allow our development team to very quickly create custom relationships.  We also area able to easily read and understand relationships in existing applications we have built.

Website Overhaul and Repair

Websites get old,   designs get tired and software gets outdated.  Matraex, Inc breathes new life into websites by either a small simple change. Or a complete website overhaul.  Depending on the client need we address goals and budget to recreate websites which perform.

Matraex offers Website WordPress PHP Custom Application Development Boise.

Website Owners 6 Free Speed Security and SEO Tools

Website Owners 6 Free Speed Security and SEO Tools

6 Free Speed, Security and SEO Tools Matraex, Inc Uses

6 speed security and seo tools-used by matraexThere are a plethora of tools out there to help you evaluate your website.   We have built a few ourselves that help us manage multiple websites.  The following list is geared towards a website owner and should help you to understand some important aspects of your website.

If you should ever need anything part of your website changed,  contact us here at Matraex for fast effective help.

1) Pingdom Webspeed Test pingdom

A good,  full page speed load tester,  it gives a score and suggestions for improvements –


pagespeed2) Google PageSpeed Insights

A phenomenal resource for understanding how you can improve the load speed and experience of your website.  Google gives you a Mobile and Desktop Grade and then gives suggestions and advice with downloads.    –
Matraex Website Performance Assessment Log – saves results from tools 1 and 2 above to help users ‘watch’ the effect that changes have on their performance]


3) Qualys SSL Labs test   ssllabs

A great free test to check that your SSL certificate on your site does not have any vulnerabilities,  The site gives your SSL certificate a grade and describes any problems.   This is a great repeatable test if you have a site looking to become PCI compliant –


jitbit4) Jitbit SSL

Scan your https:// site to see if you have any insecure content.  This test can help identify images, style sheet, javascript and other linked content which runs over an insecure (http://) connection –

5) Securi Site Scan securi

Run a scan on your WordPress website with securi,  this will help identify malware or hacks on your site. –


semrush6) SEMRush SEO Evaluation

Find how your site is performing – SEM Rush gives you a single overview page with almost too much information.   Take a look at your results for organic search backlinks and keywords.  The initial report is free however SEM Rush charges for more frequent and advanced reports.  Their free report gives you a good general idea to allow you to decide whether you want to get more indepth –



We of course want to include a link to our free tool as well,   our tool helps us to take an even smaller, faster look at a WordPress Website’s speed, security and exposure,   take a look if it fits your type of site –

If these tools gave you a good idea about how your website is performing for you, but you would like more info or you would like to improve it,  contact us or give me a call to discuss your website – Michael Blood 208.344.1115 x 250

7 Big Words in Website Design

7 Big Words in Website Design

Some of these words are more basic than others, but if you don’t already know these terms you should learn them as they may help your discussion with a web developer.   The only criteria for these words / phrases were 1) “big”. they had to be three syllables or more and 2) they had to be terms that would apply to a web design / development conversation.  (my contact information is at the bottom of this post so you and I can have a conversation about your website design)

[mtxquickform label=”Suggest a word to define” collectemailaddress=1 hidelist=’emailaddress’ submitbutton=’Suggest’ emailto=”” style=’float:right; width:40%; max-width:350px; font-size:12px; font-weight:normal; border:1px solid black; padding:10px; margin:10px; border-radius:4px;’]

  • Deep Linking
  • Localization
  • Minimal Design
  • Parallax Scrolling
  • Responsive Design
  • Skeumorphism
  • Typography

Deep Linking

Creating a link directly to a piece of content instead of your home page.  The content may otherwise have been buried behind searches or link only available on your website.

Where the page on our website might have been,  we use deep linking and have this url

Using good naming convention and deep linking can help a in Search Engine Optimization.


The process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale.

A website may look up your location from your profile or by IP Address and then change what you see or what language is displayed.

The idea is simple but it can be difficult to implement.   In browser translation helps users browse websites which do not have language localization.

Minimal Design Minimal Design Website Example

Not specific to web design,  this is the idea that less is more.

The idea has taken hold on the web as people respond to websites which create more focused content with less clutter.

Parallax Scrolling

The technique of moving the background images at a different rate than the foreground images, thereby creating and illusion of depth.

Some sites simply move a background a small amount as you move around,  other sites have a more involved method of handling the scroll to move through a picture. has a very engaging method of moving through their pictures.

Responsive DesignResponsive Design

A method of site design which ‘responds’ to the resolution of the users screen to ensures the site looks great for all sizes.

Often the businesses logo and the website navigation menu are shrunk down to make more room for other website content.

A responsive site has become a necessity as users increasingly find other business using mobile devices.

Skeuomorphism Skeuomorphism Microphone Example

Making the items that are represented in digital form, resemble their real-world counter parts.  An example is this microphone which was used in a voice recording app.

A quick way to get up on the concept is to read Gizmodo’s discussion of it.  You can also see several examples of it by searching Google Images for ‘Skeuomorphism examples


TypographyTypography ExampleTypography Example

The art of arranging typed text to make written language appealing.

Includes selecting the typeface, point size, line and letter length and spacing.

Take a look at a Google Images search for Typography fonts to see lots of examples.

Website Developer

Contact Michael Blood with Matraex, Inc to have a discussion about these or any other Website Development Terms – 208.344.1115 x 250 – Contact Form

Custom network tools we use at Matraex

We had a need for some Network Tools and we could not find them, so we created them

As Matraex has been developing websites over the last 15+ years, we have used many tools to do it.
We often find areas which there are no tools, or we could automate time consuming or error prone tasks in order to get them done more quickly and efficiently.

For these areas, we have developed some Network Tools which help us to get what we need done.

DNS and Name Servers

Bulk DNS Lookup Network Tools Matraex Inc

One of areas we identified was when dealing with new customers with a large number of domains. In ideal situations, the domains would all be registered with a single registrar account and all using known name servers. However that has not always been the case. We built the Bulk MX, DNS Domain Lookup tool to help us quickly assess the domain name,  where it is located,  who hosts the Name Servers,  domains and mail services.

Name Server Compare

In other cases we found that we needed help in identifying where multiple name servers is not set to the same value on different servers.  For example if a domain uses three different name servers,  there are times  that those name servers many not be setup the same and may report different values.

For this we built the

This is especially useful when moving a number of domains from one name server to another.

Website Performance

Website Performance Assessment Log

To help us track the performance increase (or decrease) for Websites we built the Website Performance Assessment Log.   The tool has very little functionality itself,  however it allows you to type in statistics from Pingdom and from Google’s PageSpeed  Insights,   then once you make changes to your site you can type in the next set of statistics.   This is helps to track which changes made a difference and which changes did not.

WordPress Website Check

We needed to quickly be able to assess a new WordPress website.  So we built the Website Check tool which grabs some quick speed and page load statistics,   does some security checks and checks on what your WordPress site exposes.

Other less popular,  but some times helpful tools,

  • our CSS helper tool,  this tool helps us identify duplicate and overriding style sheet definitions on a single style sheet.
  • Our buik – unix time to date converter.  You can paste in a block of text (typically I copy this from some syslog file which logged in unix timestamps) and the tool replaces any found timestamps to help us quickly read the results with Date/ Time stamps

Matraex Inc has other tools as well and we try to offer these tools free (within reason) in order to allow others to do the same thing we do.

WordPress Website Check Instant tool 3 feedback areas

WordPress Website Check Instant tool 3 feedback areas

When working with WordPress websites, there are three main areas we assess within the first few seconds, speed, security and exposure. To help us quickly do this, we built a tool, WordPress Website Check Instant tool 3 feedback areas, which pulls this information quickly and puts it into a single interface.

WordPress Website Check –

While each of the three areas of speed, security and exposure go much deeper than this small scan, we are able to see some very important metrics very quickly.

Three Checks


We can see the download speed,  the size of your home page,  the number of external CSS files and the number of external scripts.   This helps us to see how well the site has been optimized.  Typically wordpress websites are made up of a Theme with enabled capabilities,  as well as a number of plugins.  Each of the capabilities and plugins will often have their own stylesheets and script files which can add up to a bloated website.


WordPress websites are the subject of frequent hack attempts.  Website scanners quickly find WordPress sites that have their admin and login scripts exposed.  The scanner identifies the scripts.  If the scripts do not block access after a number of failed attempts (with the username ‘admin’ and then with a random username)  the script fails.


WordPress websites often publish their version number as well as details about which plugins it uses.  This information ideally is private and if possible should be kept private.  When vulnerabilities in these tools are found,  this is an advertisement to exploit your site.

The results can be saved and a link will be sent to your email so you can permanently have access to the results

The tool is our way of checking a site within seconds,  and we offer it free.   Our hope is that others find this useful ad will come to Matraex, Inc for their Website Development, Design, Hosting and Security needs.

Matraex, Inc



WordPress Website Check Instant tool 3 feedback areas

Website Performance Assessment Tool Store Compare Page Speed Size Grade

Webpage performance is important and there are a plethora of tools out there that allow you to see your website’s performance.

The tools give a large amount of information and website owners can use that information to make assessments and improvements.

As we use these tools to help our clients improve the performance of their websites, we found a couple of needs:

  • We needed a tool to quickly compare the results between changes
  • We needed somewhere we could go to quickly lookup results next time that we evaluated the performance

So,  we built the Website Performance Assessment Tool (

This tool allows us to 1) Enter a web page url 2) Link to two third party performance tools(pingdom,PageSpeed) 3) Enter the results and 4) Save

The numeric results are then stored in a table and as we make changes we can see how performance improves.

With a couple of enhancements (the ability to track multiple urls and an improved User Interface) we decided to make this tool public and encourage others to use it.

Website Performance Assessment Tool Store Compare Page Speed Size Grade

The primary benefits we see are:

  • The ability for non technical users to track their site performance
  • Website owners can track and evaluate changes made by their website developer
  • Website developers and website owners can use the tool to communicate performance expectations and results

Here is one example of how it can work:

  • A website owner opens the website assessment performance tool and enters their website url
  • They use the quick links to generate metrics for a Performance Grade, Number of Requests,  Load time, Page size and a Desktop and Mobile Grade
  • They enter the metrics into the tool and click Save
  • They notice that the total Load time is more than 4 seconds so they ask their website developer to improve the results.
  • Specifically they describe they want:
    • the Load Time to decrease to less than 2 seconds and
    • the Desktop and Mobile Grade should improve to better than 85% each
  • The developer makes changes and tells the owner the changes are complete.
  • The owner opens the Performance Tool and re enters the metrics and evaluates whether it is true.
  • One month later the owner comes back to the tool and checks again and can see the history and whether performance has degraded.



New Website Launched

New Website Launched

After 4 years of building websites for customers, Matraex finally built and launched a new version of its own site.

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