Web Designer in Asheville, NCWeb Design

We do a lot of web design and development. We also blog about it. We’re clever like that.

See, there’s a lot that goes on in the web design world – new work, portfolio updates, code snippets, killer SEO tutorials, WordPress ideas – all sorts of stuff. We try to keep this stuff interesting to everyone – not just web design geeks like us.

Here’s a running list of blog posts concerning web design. You don’t even have to be a designer (or a website) to dig ’em!

Wordpress Site Design for Penny Cup Coffee Company

PennyCup Coffee Co – Check ‘Em Out!

Photo: Katie Bailey/bkbailey@citizen-times.com

Photo: Katie Bailey/bkbailey@citizen-times.com

Bill and Amber are the King and Queen of Coffee in West Asheville, as far as I’m concerned. Not only do they roast and brew a damned fine cup of coffee, they’re damned fine people to boot.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with PennyCup on their site (BattleCat’s, too,) and each step of the way, they’ve supplied us with killer beans and countless cups of coffee. Now THAT’S our kind of client.

Here’s a little write-up and interview with Bill about all things roasting.

And here’s a Mountain X article about the opening of their Cafe.

They’ve recently opened up a roasting & tasting room in the River Arts District – right in the middle of Depot Street. Click to get a map – and then go get a terrific cup of coffee, roasted and brewed right here in good old Asheville, and have a chat with a few truly sterling people.

Wordpress Site Design for Penny Cup Coffee CompanyWe built a simple, elegant WordPress site using Woocommerce for the ecommerce portion of the site. With a custom design and a super-simple interface, the site’s easy to look at and easy to use.

As I write this, I’m finishing off my third cup of a custom roast from PennyCup. Delicious. If you come by the office, you won’t get any. It’s my home stash. That’ll tell you all you need to know about how good it can be to have friends in West Asheville!

PennyCup Coffee Co., at 362 Depot St., is open 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday.

crying baby

WordPress Security Issue – SUPER IMPORTANT!

WordPress XSS VulnerabilityAccording to Sucuri, there’s an XSS vulnerability that affects a large number of WordPress plugins. Now, what does that mean for you and your site? Not a whole lot, really – but it DOES mean that your site might have a hole that could be exploited by ne’er do wells. Most likely, though – your site is fine. But, to be cautious and stay out in front of stuff, your site and your plugins needs to be updated.

How?

Well, you can call us – we’d be happy to help out.

Or, you can take the DIY route and update your site and plugins yourself. It’s really very easy! Check out our video for super-easy instructions.

We also suggest using Sucuri’s security scanning plugin. Installing is easy – watch the video below.

Here’s a partial list of major plugins known to be affected by “The Hole.”

There are bound to be others – but the main takeaway here is this:

UPDATE YOUR SITE AND PLUGINS!

It’s a good idea to update things fairly often. WordPress developers and the community as a whole are a pretty proactive bunch, and you can bet your bottom dollar that plugin and theme developers are staying on top of this breach – and other breaches and snafus that nobody is really aware of. They stay on top of things – but to keep your site as safe as humanly possible, keep updated.

We try VERY hard to never touch core files or modify things to a point where you can’t update things. If we’ve developed your site, you should be able to update EVERYTHING at will without worrying about overwriting work we’ve done. Unless we’ve specifically let you know that you shouldn’t update something, get after the updates.

Keep it fresh, keep it updated, keep it clean!

HITCH HIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY LOGO

Mobilegeddon – Should YOU Worry About Google’s Mobile Update?

Mobile Site Update? Don't Panic!Is your site mobile responsive? Does it have a mobile-only version? How much does it matter? Is it time to panic?

Depends on your traffic. Depends on your site. Depends on a lot of things.

But the main thing here is: DON’T PANIC. (towel optional.)

Here’s the nuts & bolts: Google released a new algorithm on April 21, and it favors sites with a mobile responsive or mobile-specific architecture – but only on mobile searches. Searches from desktop machines (and laptops) won’t be affected. That’s sort of good news to the majority (~70%) of searches. But, if you’ve got a site that relies heavily on mobile/tablet users and traffic from mobile sources, you really need to pay attention to Google’s latest update and get your site in order.

See, with 30% of ALL internet traffic using solely mobile devices, you stand the chance of being ranked lower in (not eliminated from) searches from those devices. How much lower? Google doesn’t really say – but a couple of spots can make or break a search. If you were #8 and still on the first page of Google searches, and you drop to #11, you wind up on the second page – and your click-through rates will die off. Second page listings get about 5% of clicks – distributed amongst the whole of the second page. If you were already on the second page, we need to talk – but that’s a conversation for another day.

So – is it worth panicking over? Well, maybe…

Go to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. If you run your site through and the tool says you’re mobile-friendly, you’re in the clear. Kick back and relax.

If the tool tells you that you’re not mobile friendly, it’s still not time to freak out. Check out your site stats – if you’re not getting a lot of mobile traffic, you might not need to be too concerned about the rankings hit. If your primary traffic isn’t using mobile devices, you can wait and deal with it later – although not catering to 30% of potential users probably isn’t a great idea. If, however, your stats show that you’re getting a high percentage of users coming in on mobile devices, NOW is the time for action…

Step 1: Give us a shout. We can help your site be mobile-friendly. If you’re still not sure of how Google’s latest shenanigans will affect you, reach out and we will help ease your fears (or help whip you into a proper panic.) We can take a look at your audience and your traffic. It might be less painful than you think. We’ll shoot straight with you – and if you need a hand, we’re happy to help.

Step 2: Relax. It’s really not the biggest deal in the world. Yes, you might see your rankings suffer a bit in mobile-only searches. But, if you’ve got a good, functional and well-optimized site that just happens to be afoul of Google’s newest birthing, you can recover. All things considered, the numbers of even worst-case scenario “penalty” just don’t add up to a massive freak out. It’s a percentage of a percentage of a percentage – it’s not like your site is going to disappear from the rankings. Small hit – possibly. Big hit – highly unlikely. But, still – it’s worth paying attention to. Get responsive, get happy, get back, JoJo, to where you once belonged.

Now, the “don’t panic” mantra comes with a warning: Any time Google rolls out a major change in how they rank sites, you really need to pay attention. It might not affect you in a major way at the time of the roll-out, but you can rest assured that these changes will at some point come back to bite you. If it’s a small problem, it can wait – but there’s a cumulative effect with minor problems. It can snowball, and you can wind up in trouble. If you’ve got red flags with Google, you don’t know when it’ll add up to a legitimate penalty. Staying “clean” with Google is never a bad thing. If you find a gap in your site, how it’s constructed and how it looks to Google, it’s best to stay in front of it. Fix it BEFORE it has a chance to make a massive impact on your rankings/SERPs. Playing catch-up after a penalty from Big G is not a winning proposition.

So – carry on, good people. It’s not the end. The world has survived massive shakeups at Google, and we’ll all be on the other side of this one soon enough. Until then, enjoy a little music with your coffee. We are…

2 More Web Sites Launched…

We’ve been developing sites at a furious pace, and we’ve recently launched a couple of sites using WordPress and WooThemes. The sites use the same back bone (Canvas by WooThemes,) but have totally different uses. This is an abject demonstration of the power and versatility of WordPress as a web development platform.

First, Choose Your Company. We’ve worked with Eli on a number of projects, but he never had a site for his development company. He contracted with us to develop an easy, quick site that he can use to display his Yahoo! stores development and custom coding ability. We developed his sweet new logo and then moved on to build a great, flexible site with a portfolio segment that makes it simple to display his great and diverse work. Check ’em out!

Choose Your Company Website Design

Next up is Stylish Minx. This is a simple blog-style website for a style blog (see what we did there?) MaryAnn has a great fashion sense and a real passion for sharing her budget-conscious tips and outfits. Simple, gorgeous and super-functional. Built using Canvas by WooThemes, this site is easy to use and super search engine friendly. Go by and get some tips to beautify your grungy self…

Canvas by WooThemes Development

WordPress Site Design & Build: NeighSavers.com…

We worked with Bev Greene at Matchpoint Projects to develop a sweet new site for NeighSavers. We’ve worked with Bev on numerous occasions – she manages projects, we do the work, the client wins! It’s a great match. See my point? See what I did there…

Anyway – Neigh Savers Foundation is a great cause that helps re-home retired racehorses. The racing lifespan of a horse is very short when compared to the average length of a horse’s life, and often these magnificent animals are allowed to languish when they’re no longer able to race. So, Neigh Savers steps in and helps find homes for the horses. Very nice.

They’ve been scuffling with an outdated website, and along with Bev, we helped develop a new and feature-rich site. Some of the features…

  • Built with WordPress, so it’s easy to maintain, super search engine friendly and highly configurable right out of the box.
  • Built around WooThemes’ Canvas, so you know it’s got all the slick features a modern site needs.
  • Easy donation buttons to help drive conversions in the right direction.
  • Integrated “Horse Portfolio” so it’s easy to display horses for adoption, as well as equines who have found their forever home.
  • Fully responsive, so it looks and functions great on every device.

It’s a great cause with, if we do say so ourselves, a pretty terrific website. It’ll function well for years to come, and Neigh Savers will reap the benefits of a truly modern, functional and attractive website. We designed a logo and identity package for Neigh Savers previously, and it’s nice to be able to launch a website that displays their new look, logo and identity.

Working with Bev as a project manager was a blast as always, and knowing that our work was going to help animals in need felt really super.

WordPress site for Neigh Savers

WordPress 3.9 “Jimmy Smith” and WooThemes – Updates…

WordPress, our web development platform of choice, has been updated to 3.9. There are some great features – drag-and-drop images, in-editor image scaling and more real what-you-see-is-what-you-get editing for everything. It’s a good, solid update that will make the whole experience a little easier and more intuitive. Check out the video.

 

UPDATEIn order to update your site, log in to your dashboard and find the “WordPress 3.9 is available! Please update now.” banner at the top left. Click on “Please update now.” and then hit the “Update Now” button on the following screen. Wait a second or three, and – DONE

NOW – When you update to WordPress 3.9, and you’re using WooThemes, something kind of breaks. You’re used to having the little WooThemes Shortcode button in your editor, but after 3.9, it might disappear. OH NO!

But, the fix is pretty easy. Navigate to your dashboard, hover over the name of the theme (in this case, Canvas,) and click on “Update Framework.” Make sure you’re using the latest Woo framework – as of this post, 5.5.6. Now, you’ll have a slightly nicer-looking Woo Shortcode button.

Follow the 3 steps shown:

WordPress 3.9 and WooThemes

The only issue is that it doesn’t appear that the WooCommerce shortcode button isn’t appearing in the editor. So – if you’re running WooCommerce, it’s a good idea to wait until there’s a fix or workaround in place. We’ll keep a running update list here in this post, so be sure to check back in.

If you’d like us to update your site and make sure it’s all running like a champ – give us a shout. We’ll get you updated and enjoying that cup of coffee in no time…

We’re Affiliated Woo Workers. (And yes, this is good news.)

WooTheme CustomizationWe’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – we love Woo. WooThemes, to be more specific. So – we’re pleased to virtually no end to announce that we’ve been added to the Affiliated Woo Workers army.

What are WooThemes? They’re killer WordPress themes that just work. They’re super-flexible, super robust and super feature-packed. With WooThemes, you get a great underpinning for your site, and with Blue Dozen’s experience with WooThemes, you get killer design and the ability to customize your site to suit you, your business and your precise needs.

We use WooThemes (especially Canvas) as a backbone for our design. With this backbone, you get great stuff like:

  • Portfolios – photos, products, you name it.
  • Contact forms that send mail to you without compromising your actual email address.
  • Short Codes that make it easy to add buttons, dividers, toggles and all sorts of nifty features.
  • Sliders on multiple pages, so you can have a product/service slider on your home page, or an article rotator on your articles page.
  • Easy ecommerce integration. WooCommerce is KILLER. Really. Sell real products, downloads or virtual services. Nice.
  • Massive customization options – and with us and our extensive knowledge of WooThemes, we really help you take advantage of them.

Since we’re Affiliated Woo Workers, we have access to scores of support options, including direct questions to the theme developers and an army of code ninjas. We’ve got access to libraries of info – and that helps us take care of the design and know that no matter what we want to do with your site, we can get it done.

We’re excited to be included in a pretty select group of web designers and developers. Check out Woo, and we think you’ll be excited, too!

(Note – not all of our sites are developed using WooThemes. We also do straight up HTML sites, Magento sites, Shopify, ZenCart, Joomla, Drupal and all the other stuff out there. Woo is great – but if it’s not for you, we won’t shoehorn you. We build what works.)
Asheville Website Development for Wahl TempPlates

Asheville Web Design for Wahl TempPlates

Palmer Wahl, in Asheville, manufactures all sorts of temperature-sensing devices and instrumentation. They’ve been around since 1836 (not in Asheville the whole time, but – still) and their products are unsurpassed in quality and variety.

TempPlates are temperature-sensitive labels that have an enormous variety of applications. Put ’em on a package of Omaha Steaks, and you know if the temperature of the steaks got too low and that the steaks might be compromised. Put ’em on a package of donated kidneys on their way to a transplant patient, and you know if they were strained while in transit. Put ’em on your forehead, and you know if you’re running a fever. The possibilities are endless.

Palmer Wahl contacted us to develop an easy-to-use and easy-to-update site for direct sales of TempPlates. WordPress, WooThemes and WooCommerce to the rescue. We delivered a site that looks great, functions smoothly and makes it easy for customers to order any number of TempPlates, see news and get ideas on their use. Fully integrated with PayPal and with Palmer Wahl’s merchant account, book-keeping is simple; and with a variety of shipping and tracking options, that end is pretty slick, too. Responsive, mobile-ready design rounds the site into a very usable and (if we do say so ourselves) great looking site.

Check ’em out! Click HERE to visit the TempPlates site. Click HERE to see our portfolio.

Asheville Website Development for Wahl TempPlates

Web Design – Barley’s Taproom

Oh, man – web design, Asheville, beer AND pizza? Yes, please – may we have another?

Barley’s is a downtown Asheville institution, and we got to do a little responsive web design for them. Using WordPress, Google Docs and a few other tricks, we gave Barley’s a great-looking website to go with their awesome everything else. It’s easy to update, easy to use and also totally responsive. Works great on all platforms from desktops to tablets to phones. The site integrates with Google Docs to keep calendars updated and menus refreshed. Beer. Pizza. Web design. Oh, yes.

We’ve got a few more things in the works with Barley’s – so stay tuned. In the meantime, check out their site by clicking here.

barleys_web_design-1003x1024

 

Web Design for Asheville’s Own BattleCat Coffee Bar

Web design for Asheville’s most kick-ass coffee shop? Yes, please.

We’re honored to work with Amber and all the awesome folks down at the BattleCat. Stop by and have a cup of coffee. Stop by their site and plan out what you’ll have. Good food, good coffee, good site, good grief – isn’t it time to have a cup of coffee?