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




programming WordPress plugins

Sample Link image for Related Links Blender WordPress plugin

I was hav­ing trou­ble find­ing the right Word­Press plu­gin for a clients web­site … so I pro­grammed it!  You can see the results of the Related Links Blender plu­gin at the bot­tom of this post.  The plu­gin is a sim­ple but effec­tive way to keep vis­i­tors brows­ing your blog.  Sim­i­lar plu­g­ins existed, but none did exactly what I wanted.  Pro­gram­ming the plu­gin was an inter­est­ing exer­cise — always be learning!

Plugin features:

  • Choose which posts to link
  • Just add the post ID of the tar­get you wish to link
  • Links include thumb, title, and brief intro­duc­tory text — automatically!
  • Links can be struc­tured and styled to suite your website


another wordpress website

Wordpress based website built by Blender Design

Another assign­ment for Cre­at­ing Excel­lence, small busi­ness mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ist.  Cor­ner Equip­ment needed a web­site that vis­i­tors could nav­i­gate quickly, that was easy to main­tain, and that search engines would pick up and list.  Because of the clien­t’s expe­ri­ence with Word­Press there was no ques­tion it would be our plat­form of choice.  Word­press is the most straight­for­ward CMS (Con­tent Man­age­ment Sys­tem) avail­able, and because it is enjoy­ing recent pop­u­lar­ity there is no short­age of exten­sions  and support.

Blender cre­ated a cus­tom theme based on Cre­at­ing Excel­lence’s design.  Care­ful atten­tion was taken to ensure the web­site gen­er­ated would be friendly to search engines.  An SEO strat­egy was part of the early design process.

One inter­est­ing fea­ture of the Cor­ner Equip­ment web­site is the pro­cess­ing of images attached to items in the inven­tory.  Pic­tures are uploaded by the site owner and auto­mat­i­cally resized for dif­fer­ent pur­poses, lit­tle or no out­side pre­pro­cess­ing required.

Visit Cor­ner Equipment

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.