Website (re)Design ~ On Trac Coaching

Longtime client Gary Mitchell first hired Blender in 2006.  He recently wanted to update and re-brand the website for his core business GEM Communications.  His existing website was dated,  performed poorly from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) standpoint, and used technologies such as Flash which are no longer suitable for general website design. Gary wanted a modern website that would give him all the advantages the internet offers.

Our redesign stayed true to the appearance of the old, but completely replaced the foundation and back end.  Blender recommended using the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) so that Gary could maintain the content of On Trac on his own ensuring his website was always up to date.  WordPress offers well structured web pages where search engines are concerned and scales well to any size website.

Another focus was an expansion into social media including LinkedIn, Facebook, and TwitterOn Trac would have a presence on all three with the website acting as a hub from which content would be shared out.

The success of the re-design will be tracked using integrated Google Analytics for traffic monitoring.  Visitors can give feedback through website feedback forms, a blog post comment system, and  through social media integration.

Technologies: WordPress, PHP, CSS, Javascript, jQuery

Visit On Trac Coaching




security alert: Twitter hacked

Twitter announced on Friday February 1st they had been hacked in a sophisticated attack.  Twitter said 250k accounts may be affected and have emailed those users.  The stolen data included accounts, emails, addresses, and passwords. Whether or not Twitter contacted you it is probably a good idea to change your password, both for your Twitter account and for any other login that uses the same password. It is not a difficult matter to find more logins associated with the same email address, especially for popular services like Google, Facebook, etc.

Wired – Twitter Hacked

Optimizing your Website for Social User Experience

Web Design Ledger (WDL) has a short article on including a social component within the design of a website to encourage visitor interactions.

Social web 2.0 trends have taken over many of our modern static websites. Nowadays it’s difficult to find a company who isn’t on Facebook or Twitter or Foursquare, or any of the other increasingly popular social networks. It’s important to consider this experience and how you can portray social connection in the eyes of your visitors.

Optimizing your Website for Social User Experience

SEO Experiment ~ Hubpages

For search engine optimization (SEO) an important factor considered by search engines is inbound links – links from other webpages.  The best link is one from another website who does not link back to you AND has not designated the link as ‘nofollow’.  A nofollow designation tells search engines that the link is either paid or somehow solicited or affiliated.  Often these links will happen naturally over time with good content, but what if you are in a hurry?   Although at first glance it would seem easy to arrange these links, in practice it can be difficult and time consuming. Especially for really good links.

One way to create our links is to author content on blogs or other community based websites.  One such website is Hubpages where you can author your own articles with outgoing links.  The catch is that initially your outgoing links are nofollow, but once you achieve a certain level of credibility with Hubpages your links lose this designation.

I am now 12 days in on an SEO experiment on Hubpages. My ‘hubber’ author rating has passed 75/100 at which point the links in the articles I wrote lost their ‘nofollow’ designation. No news yet on whether this is helping my website in terms of SEO, but it is early days. My concern at the moment is my hubber rating peaked at 82 and has since dropped to 78 … must maintain that 75 rating!  To achieve my hubber rating I wrote two articles, both original and full of great content.  I also read some other authors hubs and made some comments on their work.

You can find links to my Hubpages in my Facebook and Twitter feeds.  Don’t want to link to Hubpages here though!

Blender (we)blog Launched

Blender has expanded its website to include a (we)blog.  The blog will act a platform from which Blender will share news and information with visitors, to Facebook, and to Twitter.  Posts topics will include website launches and hi-lights, Blender Design news, and general web design industry news and information.

Built on the WordPress blogging and content management system (CMS),  Blender designed a custom template based on the blender website so that the blog would mesh seamlessly with our existing content.

The blog also serves as a technology demonstration to show clients how WordPress can be integrated into a website.