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What is WordPress

WordPress is a blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by over 14.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites and as of August 2011 manages 22% of all new websites. WordPress is currently the most popular blogging system in use on the Web.It was first released on May 27, 2003, by founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little as a fork of b2/cafelog. As of December 2011, version 3.0 had been downloaded over 65 million times.

Features

WordPress template hierarchy
WordPress has a web template system using a template processor.

Themes

WordPress users may install and switch between themes. Themes allow users to change the look and functionality of a WordPress website or installation without altering the information content or structure. Themes may be installed using the WordPress “Appearance” administration tool or theme folders may be uploaded via FTP. The PHP and HTML code in themes can also be edited for more advanced customizations. There are several templates, some free, and some premium templates which a user has to buy.

Plugins

One very popular feature of WordPress is its rich plugin architecture which allows users and developers to extend its abilities beyond the features that are part of the base install; WordPress has a database of over 22,000 plugins with purposes ranging from SEO to adding widgets.

Widgets

Widgets are small modules that offer users drag-and-drop sidebar content placement and implementation of many plugins’ extended abilities. Widgets allow WordPress developers to add functionality to their sites. These small modules can be used to add functionality such as a slideshow, Facebook Like box, small news slider, and more.

Multi-user and multi-blogging

Prior to WordPress 3.0, WordPress supported one blog per installation, although multiple concurrent copies may be run from different directories if configured to use separate database tables. WordPress Multi-User (WordPress MU, or just WPMU) was a fork of WordPress created to allow multiple blogs to exist within one installation that is able to be administered by a centralized maintainer. WordPress MU makes it possible for those with a website to host their own blogging community, as well as control and moderate all the blogs from a single dashboard. WordPress MU adds eight new data tables for each blog.
WordPress MU merged with WordPress as part of the 3.0 release.

Mobiles

Native applications exist for WebOS, Android, iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.These applications, designed by Automattic allow a limited set of options, which include adding new blog posts and pages, commenting, moderating comments, replying to comments in addition to the ability to view the stats.

Other features of note

WordPress also features integrated link management; a search engine–friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign nested, multiple categories to articles; and support for tagging of posts and articles. Automatic filters are also included, providing standardized formatting and styling of text in articles (for example, converting regular quotes to smart quotes). WordPress also supports the Trackback and Pingback standards for displaying links to other sites that have themselves linked to a post or article.

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Posted in Web Development

Social Media Optimization

Overview

Social Media has taken online marketing by storm in recent years. It has captured a decent precentage of marketers’ advertising spend and this is growing exponentially. It can be a brilliant fit for certain business types while also being of limited value to other businesses.
We have many clients successfully using social media and using it to deliver more customers to their businesses and retain existing ones. We also have clients that have never even opened a Social Media account.  Therefore, the first step in the advice process is to assess what, if any, value can be created for your business by using Social Media.

Context for Social Media

Despite all the hype, Social Media is really just another marketing tactic, albeit a very shiny new one. Critically, it needs to be assessed in this way. By this we mean that its value needs to be assessed in relative terms as opposed to absolute terms, i.e. is there some activity you could be undertaking that would deliver an even better return than Social Media?

The Opportunity

Once you have established that you are a business that can benefit from Social Media, the next step is to come up with a great plan. Done right, Social Media can open you up to brand new customers, help you build your brand with existing customers, increase average spend per customer and a whole lot more. And, we’ve seen some incredible returns in recent years for relatively modest investments in terms of time and money.

Key Considerations

 

  • Time – have you the time resources required to execute your social media plan effectively?
  • Money – in some cases you will also need a budget to support your efforts
  • Is Social Media a good fit for your customers
  • Have all other reasonable alternatives been considered that could provide a better return?
  • Are there specific risks for your business in social media and if so, how can these be mitigated so that potential ROI is still attractive?

We can advise and help with a number of social media services:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Foursquare
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Posted in Uncategorized

What is Responsive Web Site Design

Overview

Today, websites are being consumed on a variety of devices, not just the traditional desktop computer of yesterday. Now, users are visiting websites from their phone, tablet, tv, games console, as well as their laptop and desktop computers. We need to adapt to the change in size and variety of devices that are on the market, and being released every month.
To handle all these devices, the latest technique of Responsive Web Design (RWD) is being employed more and more, especially over the traditional method of creating a separate desktop site and mobile site. Google has announced that it prefers to see sites work responsively as there is only one single page for all content.
The process of responsive web design works by making the website expand and contract, based on the width of the browser in question. Take this site for example, you can make your browser window smaller and you will see the elements on the page reposition themselves to adapt to the different size. This works on all devices including iPhone, Android, iPad, small laptop screens, and large desktop screens.
There is still a case for having dedicated mobile websites, with limited content for particular users. Depending on a clients particular requirements, this may be a solution worth implementing and we have found that this can only be determined on a case by case basis.

Mobile Usage

websites are being consumed away from the traditional computer more and more. It is more essential now, more than ever, that website owners respond to this trend and ensure their website is capable of displaying properly for each device. Google has also indicated that it will serve different results to users searching on mobile devices, and you should earn extra points if your content is ready to be served to these mobile devices.
Also, users are consuming websites in a different way now. Not all mobile users are “out and about”, and looking for information. Research has shown that they are actually replacing laptops/desktops by browsing on their iPhone/iPad while in front of the tv, on the bus, in the office, etc.
There are some industries that will adapt to Responsive Web Design much quicker than others but eventually all websites will have a responsive design, as it will simply not be possible to ignore this trend. The faster adapting websites include restaurants, pubs, hotels, news and media, events, clubs, property, car dealers, etc. This list is not limited and will continue to grow.

Advantages of Responsive Web Design

SEO – As mentioned, Google has gone out and said that they prefer sites that are responsive (as opposed to having a separate mobile site for the same content), as there is only one address for them to serve the content for to the user. You also have more of a chance of your content being served to users searching on mobile devices, compared to non-optimised sites.

  1. Cost – To maintain separate device specific websites (e.g. for iPhone, iPad, Desktop) would be more costly than maintaining one single website that’s layout adapts automatically to the device in question.
  2. Users – With a well designed reponsive website, your users will be happier to use your website and return again and again, on their alternative devices. If a user can’t use your site efficiently, as it is not set up to work on their device, it’s unlikely they will keep returning.
  3. Competition – As RWD is in it’s early adoption stage, getting a leg up on the competition could gain you extra customers and sales. Your new responsive site could appear ahead of your competitors in Google searches, and nobody will turn that down.
  4. Future Proof – By going responsive, your website will stand a much better chance of standing the test of time online. If you get a site designed today, and don’t refresh the look for another 3 years, even if new devices are anounced in that time, your site should have no problem being displayed in it’s adaptive layout.

Some of the services we offer around Responsive Web Design and Mobile Web Design:

  • Responsive Layouts
  • Mobile Design
  • iPhone, iPad, Android
  • Media Query CSS
  • Standalone Mobile Sites
  • jQuery Mobile Sites
  • Mobile Usability Testing
Posted in Web Design
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