All posts by Sam

PHP 7.2, WordPress and You

Right on the heels of the Gutenberg update, WordPress users are facing another technology update that will require a little attention.

This time around, we’re facing an update to PHP, one of the core programming languages that WordPress is built upon. This update will affect WordPress users globally, and so everyone with a WordPress site will need to make sure that they evaluate their setup to make sure everything is hunky-dory.

Don’t worry! I know this sounds like I’m about to jump of the techno-babble cliff and bore you all to death, but I promise I’ll keep this understandable. So stay tuned, and we’ll go through what PHP is, why it’s updating, and what needs to be done about it. Continue reading

The 6 Best Free Social Media Management Tools

Despite the fact the Facebook seems to be imploding in slow-motion, social media is still as important as ever when it comes to marketing your business. However, as the number of networks we need to engage with keeps growing, managing our social media is an increasingly cumbersome and time-consuming task.

If you are still engaging with each of the networks you utilize by going to their sites individually, then there is no doubt that you are hemorrhaging time that could be spent to much better effect elsewhere. So, what’s a frazzled business owner to do?

Use a social media management tool, that’s what! While there are tons of options available out there, we’ll be focusing on platforms that offer free options here, so that you can get in on the social media management ground floor without having to make a financial commitment. If you find that you are outpacing what the free plans offer, then most of these services offer paid options that increase functionality.

So let’s get to it! Here are the six free social media management tools you should check out in this crazy ol’ year of 2018. Continue reading

Gutenberg Incoming — What You Need to Know

Here at Solamar, we build our sites with WordPress. There are tons of reasons we choose WordPress over other systems, many of which we’ve talked about before. It’s free, it’s got a robust community and is easy for our clients to use.

That last point is of particular importance, because WordPress is about to undergo a major change to its editor, all in the name of making it easier for the end-user to create.

I’m talking about Gutenberg, the code name for a brand new editor that will be debuting when WordPress 5.0 releases. Gutenberg has been in the works for a while now, and while it’s not quite finished yet, it’ll soon become the default editing experience for any WordPress site using 5.0 or later. Continue reading

The Return of the Blog and Some Sad News

Hello, lovely Solamar blog readers, Sam George here. For those who don’t know me, I’ve been your friendly blog author here since 2013, and have written everything we’ve posted since June of 2017. As many of you may have noticed, I’ve been absent for the last few months. I promise I still love you, and we have big plans for this blog moving forward, so stay tuned for that! But first, we need to have a sad moment. Continue reading

Building A Boutique WordPress Admin Experience

When you decide to pull the trigger on a new website design, you’re often heavily, if not exclusively, focused on how it’s going to look and behave on the front-end. You’re assured by your chosen design agency that they use a world-class content management system (CMS), which will give you a smooth back-end admin experience. Cool, you think, I’m set. And, in some cases, you’d be right.

Here at Solamar, we use the WordPress CMS for all of our sites and for good reason. It is about as easy for clients to use as it gets. But that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect out of the box. It will handle all of your basic CMS tasks just fine, but it’s only as good as the theme you lay on top of it, and you can make that theme as more or less customizable as you like.

A website should be able to grow and adapt with you, and that means the more updatable and alterable the theme is after it is delivered to the client, the better (without overdoing it). For instance, your new site has a beautiful large hero image across the top of the home page, but a year in you decide to switch your brand up and need to change it. If it’s hard-coded into theme, you’re out of luck unless you know how to code or want to purchase more time from your agency. It would be much better if a custom interface was created that allowed you to use the built-in WordPress media library to swap out the image yourself.

In order to design and build sites with admin interfaces that are just as tailored to the client as the front-end design is, here are a few things we do. Continue reading

5 Tips For Brands Navigating the New Facebook News Feed

About a month ago, Mark Zuckerberg made a big splash with his announcement that Facebook would be making major changes to the algorithm governing what shows up in your news feed, with the goal being to “encourage meaningful interactions between people” but an unfortunate side effect that “you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.”

Zuckerberg says that these changes are necessary because of Facebook’s “responsibility to make sure [their] services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.” While that’s a noble sentiment, the imminent changes sent those of us in business and media scrambling to figure out what these changes are going to mean for us, and how we are going to adapt.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, stick around and we’ll walk through some of the things you can do to make sure that your time on Facebook is still, in the words of Zuckerberg, “time well spent.” Continue reading