If you asked us what is the number 1 trend in Web design today, this would be it.
… Either it be a simple blurred photo in the background with a heading centered in the middle, or a more elaborate one such as the illustrated hero area in the Realtii.com site above, hero areas are quickly replacing sliders as the new attention-grabbers, and they are becoming increasingly creative and elaborate.
I’ve never been a big fan of the slider, mostly because it turns the user into a passive viewer. On the web, everyone wants to drive; no one wants to be a passenger. Bigger, bolder, better artwork will leave memorable impressions. Sliders often struggle in that task.
As an avid WordPress evangelists, one of the most obvious missing elements in the arsenal has been a viable e-commerce solution. While options have existed for some time, none were great, and even the best of them required tons of time to adapt to your specific needs. And, as we all know, time is money.
Fourteen months and several beta tests later and the reviews are in: WooCommerce is good.
The basic WooCommerce plugin is completely free to download and use. It’s built on top of standard WordPress Custom Post Types and straight out of the box, is extremely powerful with a lot of functionality. WooCommerce comes with all the standard features that you’d expect within an eCommerce plugin such as;
- Various types of reporting on sales, customers and stock
- Dashboard widgets that allow you to keep an eye on various aspects of your store from the main WordPress dashboard page
- Shipping & Tax settings
- Customers & Orders
- Product & Inventory
- Marketing & Promotions including the ability to add “coupons”
- And most importantly, various Payment Gateways & payment methods
If you’ve ever had to suffer through the frustration of developing with WP E-commerce (fair warning: don’t believe the hype), WooCommerce will make you absolutely jubilant.
The latest buzz is that Flash goes HTML5 i.e. the work done in Flash can be imported to HTML5 using the new Creative Suite called Flash CS6 that will work on iPad and iPhone as well as Android and it will also support Windows 8.
A year or so ago, pundits were predicting the death of Flash. That seems unlikely to be the case now. The devil, of course, is in the details. Expect a lot of experimentation over the next few months.
Read Jill Whalen. Religiously. Her newsletter is among the very best resources on search engine optimization available anywhere. Her posts are far too complete to try and summarize, but here is a taste from her latest newsletter:
I recently did a site audit for a client who was wondering why they were having a hard time showing up in Google. … They have a fairly small local company that sells some common but specific types of office furniture. While they have a niche for the type of furniture they sell, for the most part it’s nothing that you can’t buy at most of the large office-supply stores such as Office Depot and Staples.
So how do you compete SEO-wise with the $1 million budgets of Office Depot and Staples. It’s not impossible. But it’s not easy, either. Or fast. Read the whole post.
If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’ve been working with Magnum photographer John Vink on his Quest for Land iPad app — John on photos, me as the dev guy, and journalists Robert Carmichael as the wordsmith. The app was released about 10 days or so ago, and as an iPad app, it’s gotten pretty good reviews from those who took part in our informal beta testing.
Quest for Land chronicles more than a decade of land issues in Cambodia. There’s a lot on forced evictions and their aftermath, as well as some solid historical and cultural background on land issues in Cambodia. In total, Quest for Land contains about 720 photographs and 20,000 words on the subject. The app costs US$9 — basically that’s a penny per photograph and the words are free — a shocking value proposition. Buy a copy if you can. It’s well worth it.
Everyone hates spam. So why are more and more local companies adopting this awful marketing technique? Ignorance, I suppose. But there are ways to fight back.
During a recent project, I stumbled across a dead-handy WordPress plugin that does exactly what its name suggests — obfuscates your email address.
Type your email address — firstname.lastname@example.org, for example — into any WordPress page, and the plugin will render the html as moc.erehwon@eno-on.
Spam-bots get nothing.
For more on the subject, check out A List Apart’s essay on Graceful Obfuscation.
The VideoPress upgrade, which allows you to upload and embed your own videos on your blog, now comfortably handles videos from iPhones and iPads. You can shoot vertically or horizontally, and we’ll take care of rotating it for you so that your video looks great when it’s published on your site.
Yet another reason why WordPress is the best CMS ever.
Some friends I built a web site for a few years back rang the other day. Firefox and Google Chrome were giving visitors to their site the Big Red Warning.
Like a lot of first-time or otherwise new-to-the-Interweb folks, these friends bought their domain name and hosting services from GoDaddy. They launched their web site and — like a lot of people — pretty much forgot about it.
About a month ago, the site got infected with a virus, hence the Big Red Warning.
Go Daddy, of course, who has studiously collected payment on time every time for the last 5 years, had only this to say: We cannot assist you with removing malware from your server.
Sucks to be you.