Archive for Web Design

WordPress Website Makeover Customer Highlight: thisisbroughtonhotels.com

Wordflirt Client

Broughton Hotels

We were excited to work on this project from broughtonHOTELS!

They wanted to capture leads directly from some promotional material sent out, so they created a new domain, thisisbroughtonhotels.com, and wanted us to do the website in 3 weeks!

And we did!

A few highlights of on the design:

  • Lead capture continually visible in the design
  • A Menu that expands when clicked
  • A cool color scheme that combines appeal with professionalism
  • A blinking scroll button, informing the visitor there is more information available
  • Multiple videos that pop up when clicked where appropriate
  • added Dan to it
  • improved the look and feel to “pop” more

So check them out at www.thisisbroughtonhotels.com.

WordPress Website Makeover Customer Highlight: briananddan.com

Wordflirt Client

Brian Bernasconi and Dan Rubnitz

We’re really proud of one of our recent web design makeover projects, briananddan.com.

Since Brian and Dan had teamed up to help people buy and sell real estate in the San Jose and Silicon Valley areas, they needed a website that reflected their combined experience and to let people know who they are. Plus, Brian had a nice design he liked; unfortunately, it was on a platform different from WordPress, limiting their flexibility.

Like most successful businesses, they wanted a great website but not the hassle of designing and maintaining it themselves. They hired the Wordflirt team, and they loved the final product!

A few highlights of improvements we made are:

  • ported the design over to a WordPress site
  • added Dan to it
  • improved the look and feel to “pop” more
  • implemented a blinking scroll button to encourage visitors to explore the site
  • improved the performance

So check them out at www.briananddan.com.

Don’t let your website get outdated – keep it modern and accurate so that potential customers turn into NEW customers!

WordPress Website Makeover Customer Highlight: carwashaces.com

Wordflirt Client

ACES – American Carwash Equipment Solutions

We like to highlight special web design projects so that you can see how we can makeover sites like our recent project. A couple of weeks ago, we relaunched the WordPress website for ACES: American Carwash Equipment Solutions. ACES utilizes their 7+ decades of experience to help their clients make money from their carwashes, from equipment to chemicals to having the largest exclusive territory with Sonny’s.

ACES had done their website themselves, and it served their purposes for awhile. Like many growing businesses, your initial website is a starting point. As you grow and your business matures, you too need to keep your website up-to-date. In ACES’ case, they were ready for a more professional, modern look. We set out to make the site crisp, clean and easy to navigate, without a lot of fluff.

A few highlights of improvements we made are:

  • More modern look and feel
  • Faster site loading time
  • More prominent calls to action for conversion
  • Animations to make the pages pop

In addition to improving the design, we also helped them enhance their marketing engine with the following services:

  • Content writing
  • Email opt-in design and setup
  • On-page SEO tactics to help them rank higher on Google for their industry keywords

We will be making some additional changes as time goes! Check them out at www.carwashaces.com.

Don’t let your website get outdated – keep it modern and accurate so that potential customers turn into NEW customers!

Check out ACES before and after videos below to see the difference.

Before Changes

After Changes

Hack Prevention: Maintenance & Security Vulnerability news you need to know

A New WordPress Version!

WordPress has remained at 4.7.2. And you MUST be updating your site, or having someone like Wordflirt do it. Because a vulnerability that was fixed in this release has been actively exploited. As of a few February 6, 2017, over 300,000 sites have been screwed up. Yikes!!!

(Note: as of mid-March, WordPress is up to 4.7.3 – more on this next month).

Password Managers

Click on the link for a great review on password managers, if you’ve interested. The great thing about them are

  • They remember the passwords for you – you don’t. Typically you might have to remember ONE password.
  • You can easily have different passwords for different sites.
  • You can have much stronger passwords.
  • It can automatically fill in password credentials for you.
  • They sync across all of your devices

The above is SO critical because even the best of the best gets hacked, including a service we have used in the past: Cloudflare. Apparently millions of passwords and chat data could have been exposed.

Most of the web is now Encrypted!

It’s happened! More than 50% of the web traffic is now encrypted: https://wptavern.com/more-than-50-of-web-traffic-is-now-encrypted. This is important to have on your site for better SEO ranking as Google announced a few years ago they are using HTTPS as a ranking signal in their search results. Plus, they give a slightly warning in the browser bar if it’s not HTTPS:

versus showing this:

 

Then if you click on the “i” with the circle in it, you’ll see this:


So it really makes sense these days to install a SSL certificate. We can quote you on this if you wish.

An Incredibly Clever Phishing Email

Claudia received a very clever spam email:

From: “Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft LLP” <cwtinfo@cadwalader.com>

Subject: Fraudulent card charge

Date: February 8, 2017 at 10:31:04 AM PST

To: <claudia@thewordflirt.com>

Who the f___ are you and why is there a charge from thewordflirt.com on my card?
Here you can view my statement , get back to me asap.
Bofa_card_statement_claudia.doc (this was a link)

Thank you
Nadine Barrera

The “document” that she could click on was actually a link to a site that would have likely infected her computer with malware if she had clicked on it. So be EXTREMELY careful when you click on links in your emails – you’re better off cutting and pasting it in to a browser so that it looks safe before even trying it.

Phew – it can be nasty out there! It’s so important to protect yourself, and we take extra steps to protect your website that most don’t.

Any questions or needs you might have, just send us an email or give us a call!

WordPress Website Makeover Customer Highlight: FEWL

Wordflirt Client

FEWL – Fast Easy Weight Loss

This week we re-launched the WordPress website for FEWL, an online weight loss program. FEWL is a unique program, because it focuses on the root cause of weight gain, as well as, gut health and other contributing factors.

FEWL, like many of our clients, hired a web design team that left them dissatisfied. There were some good things about the site, but overall, it did not have the professional, modern and fluid look that they wanted.

Site makeovers can be tricky. We never know what kind of funky code we will find until we open up the hood. Often, the original web designer uses an unfriendly WordPress theme, which sets the stage for every aspect of the site, such as, plugin compatibility, ease of custom coding, as well as, speed and functionality.

As with these makeover situations, we found buggy issues that were not anticipated. In the hands of our awesome web development team (David and Bryan) they cleaned up the code to make it function properly, and look better.

We also added new content, such as a testimonial page, a stylized blog, live chat, social media share, follow and streams, plus a forum for weight loss clients to reach the coaches and eachother for support.

The team at FEWL is a dream to work with. They are cooperative, appreciative, and understand how a project like this can be challenging. We also want to say that we think their program is unique and cool! In fact, some of us have tried and LOVED the 8 day detox!

We will continue to fine-tune the site, making it more robust with content, as well as, increase the functionality of the live chat and forum features that we added. Also on the wishlist, is a new ecommerce solution that would integrate with a CRM…we look forward to figuring out that challenge in the coming days!

Is Your Website Soooo 1997? Basic Boxy and Boring Websites

The Internet Dark Ages

Remember the rush in the 90’s when every business owner wanted and needed to get a website thrown up on the Internet in order to compete and do business in the new digital environment.

Websites back then were…well, UGLY. It seemed they all had the standard header at the top, followed by a boxy, template look with a lack of flow down the rest of the page. There were way too many words on a single page, reading like a book with paragraph after paragraph of long, boring text. They shared a basic layout with nary a photo in site, except for the logo at the top, and blogs were not yet a “thing”. Technology was much slower, and there weren’t very many tools to design a website that made it easy to design and edit.

So let me ask you – is your website basic, boxy and boring, like 1997?

I’m pleased that web design has come a long way in the past decade or so. Internet speed has picked up in most regions, and beautiful imagery makes the user experience much more pleasant. Having video on one’s site is now in reach like never before, and the cost to create and maintain a website is far more reasonable than before.

Why then, do so many businesses still have websites that look old and unfriendly?

The Journey Back to a Fabulous Website

We at Wordflirt® recently gave our website a makeover, as we do every year or so. Things change constantly, and with the demands of helping our clients look good, we sometimes look a bit crusty ourselves. As I do with my clients, I like to include the following features that bring a website more cuGive your website a spa day!rrent:

  • A wide, broad look across the page, beginning with a large image at the top, also known as a “hero” area. This captures the attention of the visitor, and usually contains a call to action.
  • Responsive technology – this is a must for every website, because about 80% of website visitors these days are viewing your site from a mobile device such as a phone or tablet.
  • Animation of features, such as counters, and flip boxes. These are highlight areas on the page, which move when you come to them, or hover over them.
  • A parallax affect that makes a site appear to have layers so that when you scroll, part of the background image is still visible but moves with the text. I love this look!
  • More images, less text. Sure, you want to give as much information about you and your product/service as possible, but we don’t recommend doing this on the homepage. Inner pages are a better place for more detail, and even then, it should be broken up into small paragraphs and images that represent what you’re trying to say.
  • Social sharing is an absolute must. Google likes to see that you provide the opportunity to share parts of your website on social channels. Each page and post should have sharing links for all the main social media venues.
  • Video backgrounds used cautiously. Video backgrounds on the homepage look really cool once they finally load. Therein lies the problem. Video, if not done properly, can slow the loading speed of the homepage, which can lead to two problems – one, your user gets impatient and leaves and, two, Google penalizes you for slow content.
  • Contact information on every page. In addition to the actual contact info, we like to put contact boxes on most of the pages to make it easy for visitors to contact the website owner. In older site designs, you often had to hunt around for the contact information, making it burdensome.

Finally, a website should be intuitive, making it easy for the visitor to find what they need. If a visitor can’t find what they need, they will become frustrated and you could lose a lead.

I understand how difficult it can be to manage a digital presence for a business owner or team, and not everyone can have a technology employee on board. But my advice to you is to look at your website at least once every 18 months or so to make sure you still appear modern and relevant. Having a website is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” endeavor. It should always be growing and evolving just like your business.

Be gone basic, boxy and boring websites!

WordPress Web Design Customer Highlight Exdirt

Exdirt “Exclusively Offroad” Website

We first met Vern Vihlene a couple of years ago, as he was fleshing out his business model which included two of his passions: producing video and off-roading.

Vern’s goal was to create a website which is essentially a “one-stop-shop” for all things relating to off-roading. His personal challenge started when he first explored off-roading. He found it difficult to find information that would tell him everything he needed to know about off-roading for a newbie.

After making a lot of connections in the off-road community and professional space, he came up with his website model which consisted of:

Meet Vern Vihlene
  • Showcase videos produced for entertainment and education, including both long and short videos.
  • Be a resource for activities, events, and places to visit according to the level of the trail. He calls this section “Where to Go”.
  • Videos that highlight the finer points of events and the ones not to miss. For example, if there are particular sites one must see on a trail, he would showcase this in a video. This section is called “What to Do”.
  • Provide how-to information for the newbie and even a more experienced off-roader to teach how to modify vehicles, what the technologies are, and how to drive – hence the section on his site called: “How to Do It”
  • He also wanted to provide a list of clubs for people to join either nationally, or within their region, so we created a “Clubs” page that can be searched by the off-road enthusiast.
  • To grow the community for the site, Vern offers a monthly BFG tire giveaway sweepstakes.

After reviewing Vern’s requirements, we determined that WordPress was the best platform for it. The flexibility and versatility of it, allowed us to customize the look, feel and functionality of the site to Vern’s requirements. And Exdirt.com; “Where to Go, What to Do, and How to Do It” was born.

The main challenge when designing the site, centered around site speed, due to the many videos on it. There are several ways to speed up a website, and we continue to try new things all the time.

Incorporating social media and email marketing are ways to drive traffic to the website, where, ultimately, he wants a very interactive community with participation from both the hobbyists and the pros.

The site will continue to develop as he ads more videos and information. If you’re an off-roader, we hope you’ll visit the site and get involved. At the very least, enter to win a set of tires!

Exdirt website makeover

A 9-year-old’s View on Web Design

From the Mouths of Babes!

My youngest daughter, age 9, (My Little Wordflirt, Jr.) is fascinated by what I do. Once, she was looking over my shoulder as I was designing in Photoshop, let out a big sigh and said “Mom, you have the COOLEST job!”

She’s right. I DO have the coolest job! I really enjoy what I do – both the creative process AND helping businesses look great on the Internet.

On another day recently, I came into my office to see what Wordflirt, Jr. had written on my whiteboard. Here’s a picture of it:

Wordflirt-jr-on-web-design

n case you can’t read it, here’s what she wrote:

Caller = We have an emergency!

Wordflirt = What is it?!

Caller = Someone is getting fired from NOT making a website for their company!

Wordflirt = Oh no!! Well you did the right thing…Whoosh!!

Narator = She was off to save another company. Coming home on her pink scooter, she saved another person from being fired! The End.

Well, I don’t own a pink scooter, and I’m not sure about people getting fired for not making a website.

But what I do know is how much technology is embedded at the center of our children’s lives. They simply don’t know anything else.

technology-in-silicon-valley“The Olden Days”

I grew up in the age where you had to get off the couch to change the channel, phones had cords, we used an encyclopedia to write a report, and it took a week to have a photo developed!

(My daughter lovingly pats me when she calls it “The Olden Days”!)​

Today, my kids rely on Google to be their source of information. And if they’re too lazy to type in a search string, they ask Siri for help. If they miss a program on TV, that’s ok – it’s On Demand. They can take 10 Selfies until they like one, AND ​they don’t even have to talk to people, if they don’t want to – they text!

I guess my point in writing this, is that the future generations only know a world with technology. They can’t imagine a business that doesn’t have a website, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. To them, if they aren’t online, they don’t exist.

This is our current and future customer, my friends.

So for my little Wordflirt Jr., I will always stay current. I will continue on my mission to help businesses (especially those that are run by people around my own age (48) and older!) to find their voice on social media and through a powerful, modern website.

And, I will melt inside every time she says, “Mom, when I grow up, I want to do what you do!”