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.”

Stay Meaningful

The real question is, what does meaningful mean? In this case, according to Zuckerberg, it means content that generates a ton of comments and reactions, and posts that don’t “could see the biggest decrease in distribution.”

What this means is that you should focus your content strategy on generating conversations. Ask questions, be provocative (without being transgressive). Write about timely issues and topics (your favorite “stay woke” joke here). The more you can get people actually talking about something, the better.

Don’t Annoy

Just because you want to prompt as much discussion as you can doesn’t mean you should be pushy about it. Don’t inundate your following with requests for them to comment or try to directly incentivize commenting. For one, Facebook has publicly stated those types of posts will be demoted, but additionally those types of posts are icky and annoying. Don’t be that guy.

Can You See Me Now?

There is one exception to the “Don’t Annoy” rule. Thankfully, your followers still have the option to always see content from a particular page if they set that page to “See First” in Facebook’s news feed preferences. The time has come to embrace letting your followers know about that option, and asking those who are truly interested to set you to “See First”. Still don’t try to spam people into doing so, but a gentle, once-in-a-while reminder that such a thing is possible is now a good idea.

Spend More Money

What?! Never!! Weeeelllll…..I know the idea of increasing your Facebook Ad budget seems onerous, but the fact is that organic engagement has been dropping for a long time now, and as these algorithm changes speed up that trend, one of the surefire ways to ensure that you are getting eyeballs on your content is to pay Facebook to put it there. Period.

Take It Live

Haven’t jumped on the Facebook Live bandwagon yet? The time is now. Zuckerberg specifically mentioned that Facebook Live videos “on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos”. It’s about as guaranteed an engagement generator as you can get.

Want to make sure you’re working with a team that stays in-the-now on social media issues? Give the Solamar crew a shout!

5 Guidelines to Increase Commenting on Your WordPress Site

You’ve a blog, I’ve a blog, everybody has a blog. But not everybody has a healthy community of commenters contributing to their blog. In fact, getting people to comment on the content you create is one of the hardest things in the web world to accomplish. If you’re a new blog, or haven’t reached a critical mass of readership yet, then this is understandable. But if you have a lot of people looking at your content and none of them have anything to say about it, then chances are your comment section needs some extra love to help draw those reticent readers out.

If that sounds like you, and you’d like to do something about it, then stay tuned and we’ll go through a bunch of things you can do to start the conversation moving. Continue reading

What Meltdown and Spectre Mean For You

If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the last week or so, you’ve probably noticed a lot of hoopla about two new security vulnerabilities that affect almost every computer on the planet. Terrifyingly named Meltdown and Spectre, the two affect every processor chip made since 1995. That means your phone, the server your website lives on, the cloud computers you use to store your data, the old laptop you’re using for a media server, they are all affected.

Since these vulnerabilities involve hardware issues and not software ones, the solution has been much more difficult to implement and large swaths of the tech community have been secretly involved in trying to come up with patches over the last few months since Google researchers (and others) first privately disclosed them.

But solutions have been created, and many of them are beginning to roll out this week. So what does this mean for you? Stick around and we’ll go through it. Continue reading

7 Common Contact Page Mistakes You Should Avoid

A little over a year ago, we shared some tips with you about how to make a Contact page that connects with your users. Hooray for tips! Everybody needs a good Contact page, given that getting people to reach out to you is one of the fundamental tasks of most websites.

However, we’re still seeing contact pages out there that don’t quite hit the mark, and so today we return with the flipside — some common Contact page mistakes that you should definitely avoid. Continue reading

A New Look For Lisa Sasevich

A little over a year ago, the Solamar design team began working on a really exciting project that we’ve been keeping under wraps, and a few weeks ago we finally got to reveal it to the world — a redesign of Lisa Sasevich’s website!

If you don’t know who Lisa is, you really should. Often called “The Queen of Sales Conversion”, Lisa has helped over 15,000 clients from over 130 countries in the course of her amazing career, and was named one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing privately held companies for two years in a row.

It was a real honor for the peeps here at Solamar to undertake such an important design project for such an illustrious client, and we’re super-psyched for what a modern web presence is going to do for her, her biz and the many, many people she helps on a daily basis.

How did we approach this incredible project? Stick around, and we’ll walk you through it. Continue reading