Category Archives: Development

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

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

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

Take WordPress Live Smoothly — A Launch-Day Checklist

You’re so close you can taste it. The design process went smashingly, the development team translated it beautifully into a working site and all the content is in place. It’s time to take your new WordPress site live!

When you’re so close to the finish line, it can be tempting to sprint the final distance, but in the web world, it’s critically important to make sure you have all your ducks in a row as you introduce your new site to the world.

The last thing you want is for your first impression to go sour because some little detail got overlooked. Instead, follow this launch day checklist to make sure that you have your bases covered, and you can debut your new online home with confidence. 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

How We Work: Web Development

Here at the Solamar blog, we spend a lot of time talking about web design — tips and best practices for putting your logo together or how to make a killer landing page — but we don’t get too much into the development side of things. For the most part, this is because development stuff is highly technical and we don’t want to put off our audience by throwing a bunch of jargon at them that they’ll have trouble deciphering.

But today, let’s dig into how the sausage is made! I promise I’ll keep things as simple and easy to understand as possible, and I think you’ll find the process of how we take your web design from concept to execution an interesting journey. So stay tuned, and buckle up as we discover how we work on web development! Continue reading