Category Archives: Design

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

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

8 Tips For an Irresistible CTA Button

One of the most important things you can include in a business website is the Call-to-Action (CTA) and the most important part of the CTA is the button. Most visitors arrive at a site with a purpose, and looking to take action. Most websites serve a purpose and need people to take action. The CTA button is the crossroads where those two meet.

That’s why it is important to take extra care with how you design and implement that button! You may think it’s just a simple button, and not worth the extra time worrying about, but even small adjustments to such a critical part of the conversion process can have significant effects on overall performance.

So let’s take a look at the CTA button, and all of the ways you can make sure it is performing as well as possible! Continue reading

The Myth of Simple Custom Design

Today, I’d like to address something that comes up in conversations with clients quite a bit — the myth of simple custom design. The proliferation of “get it done quick and cheap” web builders like Squarespace and design marketplaces like Fiverr have led to a growing public assumption that high-quality custom designs and “simple” websites can be had for a pittance. This is just not the case.

Think about buying a custom website or design like buying a one-of-a-kind dress from a fashion designer, custom-made to fit your figure. You wouldn’t go with whomever could provide you with the cheapest dress, ask for it to be completed hastily or farm it out to a tailor who is too far away to take your measurements. The same is true of custom design and site development!

So let’s break it down and look at some specific reasons why you shouldn’t use your bottom line as your guiding light when making decisions about custom design. Continue reading

It’s Time To Style Your Google Maps

Google Maps have become so powerful and so ubiquitous that they’ve almost become a default element to include in website designs, even if it’s just to display the location of a single business on a contact page. Users know how to interact with them, and they look great.

But….they could look better! As a designer, it’s always been one of my pet peeves that it wasn’t easily possible to match the colors of the Google map to the brand colors of the website that it was living within. Sure, the maps looked great, but wouldn’t it be even greater if the blue of the water matched the blue of the design exactly? Yes. Yes it would.

Well, good news! Over the last year or two, we’ve seen the rise of a few tools (including one from Google itself) that make the styling of their maps possible, and they provide a degree of control over the map display that I had never dreamed possible.

So stick around, and we’ll color some maps! Continue reading

How To Easily Make an Animated GIF

Love them or loathe them, animated GIFs have become part of the way we communicate with each other in the digital age. Though they have seen regular usage as a way to inject fun commentary into a chat or social media feed for a while now, we are also beginning to see animated GIFs used for marketing purposes as well. Email newsletters are using them to add a little life to a relatively static medium, and their use in social media has grown to include more than memes.

But how do you make one? Animating things is complicated, right? Weeeeellll, sometimes it can be! But even the technically challenged can start creating and using animated GIFs in their marketing (or just for a little fun), with the help of some online tools that make the creation process a snap.

So stick around, and we’ll have you popping out animated GIFs in no time! Continue reading