Although search engine optimization has been around for a while, some people may not know that it can also be used to boost the rankings of your site’s images. When users search for images, many of them might find an image and click through to the main page. In fact, this is becoming an increasingly popular way for users to find sites that they will enjoy using. In order to capitalize on this trend, there are some tactics that you should be using to boost the search results for your images. This guide will help give you some basic information for pushing your images to the first slot on search results.

Read More

Request A Web Design Quote

Stuff to Think About Before You Start Building Your Website

Have you ever had a great idea for a website, but when it came to actually building the site, you were totally lost? Unfortunately, that happens far too often. People think if they don’t jump on an idea immediately and build their site, they’ll lose their momentum.

It’s actually just the opposite.

If you don’t approach this idea with a lot of thought BEFORE you implement it, you’re doomed to fail — or at least struggle a whole lot before you succeed.

Here are some things to think about before you start building your website. 

Read More

Should I Use WordPress to Build My Website?

We love a lot of things about WordPress. It has so many time-saving features that it makes a lot of the heavy lifting of web development much lighter. Still, it does have its foibles and isn’t a universal, one-size-fits-all solution. Having created many sites using WordPress as a content management system, we’ve learned that there are some good reasons to use WordPress to create your website, and some good reasons you might want to use another solution.


Good: Even if you don’t hire a designer to customize your site, there are enough templates so your site won’t look like everyone else’s site. WordPress templates provide a great way to kick start your design, and many templates have built-in functions that can help you solve complex web programming tasks. The past few years have seen a huge increase in the number of responsive templates, so be sure the template you choose is mobile-friendly.


Bad: Templates are not designed to further your particular brand, so while you may find one that is similar to your current look, it won’t match exactly. You might want to start with a simple template and then customize (or hire a web developer to customize) the template to match your branding. If you want to customize pages even more, you may have to spend a decent amount of time updating style sheets and PHP. One caveat: If you choose a template with too many functions that you’re not using, you could end up with a disastrously slow website.


Good: If you don’t have the in-house expertise, you can often find a WordPress plugin to extend and expand the functionality of your site. Plugins can handle anything from adding a slideshow or a form to creating a sophisticated online store. Today, there are almost 40,000 plugins from which to choose.


Bad: WordPress is not built for high-performance, and adding plugins can slow things down even more. They can make it easy to add functionality, but each plugin comes at a performance price. Plugins can sometimes stop working when you upgrade WordPress or your theme, since many of them are developed by individuals and fixes aren’t always done frequently. That means that after a WordPress or theme upgrade, you can spend a lot of time changing the site to fit the way a plugin works or trying to change a plugin to fit the way the site works.


Good: WordPress has a built-in search function and facilitates search engine optimization (SEO). The search function is easily added to all pages of your site. WordPress allows you to tag all content, create custom keyword-rich URLs, and allow trackbacks and pingbacks, all of which help your site be found in online searches.


Bad: WordPress search is limited — results are sorted by date, not relevance, and there are no advanced searching options. For a more robust search function, you can install Google Site Search on your website. WordPress doesn’t automatically do some of the more technical SEO tasks, so you still may have to add a few plugins to truly optimize your site for search.


Good: For years, clients asked us to make them websites they could easily update themselves. For years, the answer was, “Sorry, there really isn’t an easy way.” No more. WordPress is very easy to use. Once your site is designed and developed, it’s extremely easy to add new pages, posts, copy, images, and more. A quick training session makes it easy for novices to learn how to add or edit basic content on the site.


Bad: WordPress is pretty finicky on how it interprets content you add. If you paste content from Word, you’ll introduce lots of garbage code. If you work in the text/source mode, you’ll end up getting annoyed with the way WordPress “cleans up” your code. And, if you accidentally mess something up, you sometimes have to clean up the HTML by hand.


Good: Allows experienced developers to completely customize sites. You can make changes to the code if and when you have to. It’s not proprietary, so it’s effectively open-source.


Bad: Not as easy to customize for non-developers or those who know only HTML. WordPress has its own PHP syntax and functions that create a bit of a learning curve, even for experienced PHP coders. Also, you can’t just preview a post in your browser without having a WordPress testing server set up.


Good: WordPress is an open-source project and there are plenty of developers, so security flaws in WordPress get patched quickly,  new features appear regularly, and themes and plugins get regular updates.


Bad: Updates are great, but sometimes when WordPress, your theme, or your plugins get updated, it breaks something else.


Good: WordPress has a 60% market share of content management systems today. (That’s 75 million websites built on WordPress!) WordPress also has 40 international translations, and it’s adding more all the time. The large, helpful community of users can help you fix challenges that arise. If you’ve had the problem, chances are, someone else has too. WordPress is widely used by people tackling the same issues you face, so there is a huge community of support.


Bad: There’s not really any downside we can see to having a big community of users working on the industry-standard platform


Good: If you want to create content, make timely updates, and continuously engage with your visitors, WordPress is hard to beat. WordPress makes it easy to add pages and posts, display the latest content up top, and update pages easily and quickly. If you want to keep fresh content on your site all the time, WordPress makes it easy.


Bad: All the functionality that makes it easy to constantly change content can be overkill for a site that requires infrequent updates. All the theme functionality, plugins, and database queries can lead to slower load and response times, so for a site whose content rarely changes, a straight HTML site might be better for your needs.


Good: WordPress can be used as a simple CMS, and it is relatively standards-compliant. Adding new pages and posts doesn’t require much training and there are many plugins you can use to add additional CMS functionality to your site. You can assign users with different “roles” to limit their access, and WordPress prevents more than one user from editing the same content at the same time.


Bad: With some work, you can give WordPress some robust CMS functions, but WordPress is not really a full-featured CMS. For example, WordPress won’t keep you from introducing bad code, it doesn’t do workflow management, nor does it track user roles.


Good: The latest official WordPress theme, called “twentyfifteen,” is pretty streamlined, is responsive, and works great with the latest versions of WordPress. It is free to install and use.


Bad: The theme looks like it was created a decade ago. (Left-side navigation? Really?) And, it has responsive breakpoints that don’t seem to correspond to common mobile devices. We’ve come up with some pretty slick workarounds to implement modern-looking designs in twentyfifteen, but they do require some more advanced CSS/PHP work.


Overall, creating a website with WordPress is straightforward, especially if you can kick start your development using an existing template. However, if you want to customize the look and functionality of the template, you’ll have to possess robust web development skills, or hire a developer.

It’s important to keep in mind what WordPress does well, and what it does only with great effort, so you can have realistic expectations from the beginning. As long as you want your site to leverage WordPress’s strengths, such as posting frequent updates, WordPress is a good way to go. But if you’re looking for a straight CMS, highly customized page layouts, or you’ll only use very few of the content creation features of WordPress, you’d probably be better off going with a straight HTML website.

Why You Should Avoid “Do It Yourself” WYSIWYG Website Builders

Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace are all do it yourself website builder platforms. Website editors like these are often called WYSIWYG, and awkward acronym that stand for “What You See Is What You Get.” Using a WYSIWYG editor, you can edit a website as it appears using drag-and-drop interfaces and text-editing toolbars. They advertise as easy to do yourself with a drag and drop editor that is fun and easy with no coding knowledge required.

It is easy to fall into their trap because it is the cheapest way to go about building a website. But the truth is there are many reasons why you would be better off investing in a quality website. 

Read More

My best web work of 2016

Looking back on last year I realized how many awesome websites I had the opportunity to develop and decided to create a video of my favorite website that I made. I hope you all enjoy my video. There is no sound….

If you need help with your website, please head on over ot my website and send me a message!