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

The Latest & Greatest — WordPress 4.9 “Tipton”

One of the great things about WordPress is that it is constantly in development, and each new release brings a slew of new features and updates that make using our favorite CMS even more enjoyable. That’s why, as each new “named” release becomes available, we’re going to take some time here to go through the new bells and whistles for you.

If you have an existing WordPress site, you won’t see these new items automatically, you’ll need to upgrade your WordPress installation to 4.9 in order to see them. However, you shouldn’t update your install without backing up your entire site first and then double-checking everything is still working afterwards. If that isn’t something you are comfortable with, DON’T update. Instead, get a team with WordPress experience, like Solamar, to do it for you.

That said, we still want you to know what the new hotness is, so you’re up-to-date on what WordPress is capable of. So without further ado, here’s the good stuff that was added in WordPress 4.9 “Tipton”, named for jazz musician and band leader Billy Tipton. Continue reading

3 Tips For Using LinkedIn Native Video

In August LinkedIn began rolling out a new native video service for it’s users, and if you haven’t been taking advantage of it, now is probably as good a time to start as any.

Prior to the introduction of native video, unless you were one of LinkedIn’s special “Influencers”, the only way to get a video on LinkedIn was via a third-party video hosting service like Vimeo or YouTube. But since the introduction of native video, people using it have noticed a marked increase in engagement over videos they had posted using other services.

On top of that, native or not, video gives people a much better sense of who you are personally, which on a networked geared towards professionals and the workplace can be crucial in making the kinds of connections you want to make.

So let’s take a look at native LinkedIn video and how you can begin using it! Continue reading

Twitter Opens 280 Character Limit For All

140 characters is an arbitrary limit, given its archaic SMS heritage and the fact that you can’t write any sentence longer than this one is. Which is why, after a brief period of testing to a limited subset of its users, Twitter is finally increasing its character count for most users to 280.

The only ones left out of the fun are Japanese, Korean and Chinese language users. Because those languages are non-alphabetic and contain many logographic symbols, they don’t experience what Twitter calls “cramming”, and so don’t require the expanded count.

Of course, with any big change to a fundamental system comes the inevitable backlash from some part of the user-base, even if that community isn’t quite as vociferous as Twitter’s tends to be. Continue reading

The MailChimp Opt-In Reversal and You

Welp, go figure. Just a few months after we wrote about embracing the double opt-in for email lists after switching to MailChimp, they’ve done an about-face on their opt-in policy and made all of their forms single opt-in by default.

Looking at the reaction from the MailChimp community, it seems to be a controversial move, especially since MailChimp has spent years trying to convince people that double opt-in is the one true way. Personally, I’m for it. While I believe that double opt-in is still a much more secure way of doing things, and leads to higher-quality leads, I also think having a choice to do things the way you want is better. There are certainly instances where a single opt-in, which requires no more input from the user once they enter their information the first time, leads to a much smoother user experience.

However, rather than let you make that choice on your own time, MailChimp has decided to convert all of its forms to the single opt-in unless you go in and tell it not to. They started this process early last week, but it wasn’t live for everyone until last Friday. If you’ve been using double opt-in on any of your Mailchimp forms, and you don’t want them to become single opt-in, you’ll need to take action to make sure they continue to operate as intended. Stick around, and I’ll walk you through it. Continue reading

What’s Involved in Starting a Podcast?

So you want to start a podcast, eh? Well, good on you! We wrote earlier this year about how podcasts can help spice up your content, and since then podcasts have shown no sign of slowing down in popularity.

The problem is, though lots of people are ready to jump on the podcast bandwagon, not everyone knows what is entailed in doing so, at least in terms of producing a professional quality podcast that has a chance to succeed in a crowded marketplace.

The fact is, anyone can podcast! It involves a relatively small financial commitment, and technology that can be learned with a little bit of elbow grease and a basic understanding of computers and the internet. So let’s dig into what’s involved in starting a podcast, and by the end, you should have pretty good idea of what’s involved and whether it’s for you. Continue reading

Why We Switched Our Payments to Stripe

Solamar had been using the same clunky system to handle our payment processing for a loooooooong time now, which involved an imperfect marriage between powerpay.biz and auth.net. It was the system we set up at the very beginning, back when we first launched this ol’ ship called Solamar, and since it worked and we were grandfathered into plans that had no limits there wasn’t a very compelling reason to switch…at least for a while.

We’d been hearing a LOT of things about Stripe, a powerful, feature-rich yet easy-to-use payment processor that has been making a lot of waves in the media lately. The more we looked at the modern environment and functionality they were offering, especially compared to what we were already using, making the switch seemed more and more attractive.

We finally decided to take the plunge when we realized that if we switched to Stripe, we could consolidate our payment services from two down to one, since Stripe handles all of the things we used to use both powerpay.biz and auth.net for. It saves us all the time we used to have to spend balancing those two systems, and that was an offer too good to pass up.

Still a little worried, we signed up for Stripe but left our accounts at the legacy services open, just in case. In the proceeding months, we discovered that Stripe is, in the words of our Founder and CEO Chelsea Berler, “A-FREAKIN-MAZING!” It’s user-interface is super friendly, and yet it can handle almost anything we throw at it. So last month, we closed our powerpay.biz and auth.net accounts completely, and exclusively use Stripe.

Stick around, and I’ll give you some details on Stripe and what it can do. Continue reading