October 2, 2017, New York -- We have been hard at work, feverishly upgrading the backend and redesigning the look and feel of Westlinks Online and are excited to share some of the details with you in this first edition of our newsletter.
Our lead (and only) developer, Talgat, has been onboard since July. His expertise as a skilled PHP/Laravel programmer was key to the successful upgrade (we upgraded from Laravel 5.3 to 5.5). As a bonus, his day job colleague Maria, a gifted designer, contributed the awesome new look and feel of the site including the new logo. She totally nailed it! (Note that the Support and About pages are not her design and will be updated later.)
Key additions over the last week:
This key integration allows us to handle support tickets from within the website. As a user, you can now submit support tickets directly from our support page. Any existing open tickets submitted by you will be shown there as well as on your dashboard.
Additionally, we have also integrated the FAQ into our support section which is hosted on Zendesk.
Future plans include built-in search where information entered into a support ticket will be analyzed in real time for possible existing answers.
We are excited to announce that today we added Vultr as another hosting provider. Vultr is a well regarded, high performance VM provider which promises to be a strong competitor to our existing line-up. More will be revealed once we get to spend some time using them.
Amazon Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) provides automatic distribution of traffic across multiple servers placed behind a single gateway. The purpose of this setup is mainly to provide a method of automatic scaling. For example if there was a sudden boost in traffic from some sort of publicity, our platform is capable of being replicated onto unlimited additional instances allowing all requests to be handled without overloading a single server.
The other key benefit of running behind the ELB is the elimination of a single point of failure. Similar to a twin engine aircraft, with a minimum of two servers running in parallel we will continue to operate even if one of the servers fails.
This integration will allow us to track the effectiveness of ad campaigns by tracking incoming traffic to landing pages so we will can learn what works and doesn't work. Tied to campaigns will be associated discount codes which work as sales incentives and provide savings to customers.
Customer Information Manager (CIM) is a part of Authorize.net who is our existing credit card processor. Integrating CIM will allow us to provide more flexible billing. Currently we use Automated Recurring Billing (ARB) which is fine for a single subscription but we expect there to be many cases where customers will add/remove features to their accounts and will want only an adjusted single bill per month rather than a new charge for each feature. This is similar to your cellphone or cable bills where changes in service continue to be reflected on your monthly bill.
Additionally you will be able to maintain the "credit card on file" in your account eliminating the need to re-enter your billing information repeatedly. Note that all user information is securely managed by Authorize.net, not us. This is a high priority project.