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!

Web Design and Logo Development for The Honey Bee Steward

HONEYBEESTEWARD_LOGO_DESIGN

We’re privileged to work with some pretty special people – and the Honey Bee Steward is certainly tone of those. This fellow has dedicated a huge portion of his life to the preservation of honey bees, educating folks about honey bees – and just about everything else you can do concerning the little buggers.

Independent Studios developed a lovely, subtle logo for him, and a bold, bright website. The logo captures the honey cell and some good, earthy tones – and comes out warm and subtle. The site, built with WordPress and WooThemes, is as bold as the logo is subtle. The site is easy to update, and the design really makes it all pop.

Check out the Honey Bee Stewardgive us a call – we’ll help you be the bee’s knees too!

Asheville Website Design for the Brewgrass Festival!

We’re happy to announce a new web design and development launch – this time for Asheville’s own Brewgrass Festival.

Danny and the good folks at the Brewgrass Festival needed a new website that could grow and change with the festival. With bands and breweries dropping out, they needed something easy to update and easy to use.

They also needed (like everyone does) a responsive web design so they didn’t miss out on the huge percentage of folks using mobile devices to view their site. It needed to work – and work it does. How? WordPress and WooThemes.

The site features some nifty stuff and a super-easy user interface so it can stay updated, fresh and awesome. Also, since it’s built using a totally modular system and theme, they won’t have to recreate the wheel next year when their look changes. Sweet!

So – go check it out. Then, drop us a line – we can help you be awesome, too!

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WordPress 101 – Adding Images to Posts or Pages

Well, you’re really in it pretty deep now. We’ve covered the Dashboard, Posts and Pages and the Visual Editor’s role in all of that. Now, you’ve got pages on your site, posts in your blog, and you’re starting to get the hang of editing it all. But – websites need images and people like to see websites with images on ’em.

“How? Please, Mr. Gaffney – don’t withhold that delicious knowledge from us one more second!”

Well – you add stuff using the Visual Editor and the “Add Media” button. Easy-peasy, right?

A bit of a synopsis on adding images to your WordPress posts and pages:

  1. Click and place your cursor within the text where you would like the image to be inserted.
  2. Click on Add Media button (above the Visual Editor, and with the cute little camera and music note icon.) You might need to click on Upload Files at the top left of the screen that pops up.
  3. Click on Select Files.
  4. Locate the images on your computer you want to upload and click Open.
  5. Once it’s done uploading, you’ll have some options on the right of the screen:
    • Title: Type a title for the image. This is important for search engines. Choose a descriptive title that works with the content of your page. For instance – if you’re writing a post about puppies and insert a photo of puppies, give it a title that includes stuff like “Cute photo of puppies.” It’s a good habit to get into to give all your images good, rich, SEO-friendly titles.
    • Caption: If you want your image to have a caption, this is the place to add it. Depending upon your theme, it may appear in a box or in some sort of different configuration – but the text will usually be below the image.
    • Alt Text: Add alternate text. Again – good for search engines and for folks whose browsers don’t display images. If the browser doesn’t display images, this text will appear – so, make it descriptive of the photo itself – not necessarily of the page that it’s on.
    • Alignment: Choose how you want the image to align – None  or Center and it’ll float on it’s own line. Left or Right and it will push itself to one side of the page and your text will flow around it. Pretty sweet…
    • Link To: Tells the browser what to do when a person clicks on the link. “Media File” will link the photo to itself. Good if you need to have a thumbnail that blows up to a bigger size (also pretty sweet if we installed Auto Thickbox Plus on your site – we’ll let you know…) “Custom URL” allows you to use your image as a link to another site – or a page within your site – or a file in your Media Library. “Attachment Page” links to a page that can show all the attachments that you’ve put on the page you’re currently editing. Honestly, still haven’t found much of a practical use for that one… “None” deadens the link altogether.
    • Size: Size of image as you want it to appear – Thumbnail, Medium, Large or Full Size. If you sized the image before you uploaded it, you can leave it at Full Size. If the image you started with is big, you can change the size before you insert it into your post.
    • Insert into Post/Page: Inserts your image into the post or page.
  6. Done!

Now you’ve got a page with a beautiful image. But – what if it’s too big or too small? Want to re-size? Want to change the link or the Alt Text? You can edit an image by being in your Visual Editor and:

  1. Clicking the image you’d like to edit.
  2. Clicking on Edit icon (looks like a little pencil) that shows over the image.
  3. Editing the information you’d like to change. You can also scale the image by percentage. Sweet.
  4. Clicking the Update button.

Man – that was easy! Now get out there and make your WordPress site YOURS.

Only 1 more week until we launch our fabulous WordPress help, tutorial and resources section. You’ll want to see this!

WordPress 101 – The Visual Editor

Well, we’ve covered the general stuff – your WordPress Dashboard and some of it’s function, plus the basics of Posts and Pages.

You’re in there, elbow-deep, editing a page or post. Maybe you’re just starting a page or post – but you want to add some zip to your content.

“Tell me, James – how do I do that?” you’re probably saying…

Well – your Visual Editor is what you’re going to use to do stuff like make your text bold, change colors, add links, align stuff and make nifty lists and quotes.

Using your Visual Editor in posts, pages and in other special areas (if we designed the site, you might have other places that the Visual Editor will show up,) is really the same pretty much everywhere. Learn it – get used to the nomenclature, and you can really take your posts or pages to a higher level. Make the text interesting, make it easier to read, easier to navigate and – ultimately – easier for your customer/client/visitor to get to exactly what they’re looking for. Plus – you can use it to help direct folks to your “Call to Action” page or link or store or what-have-you. The Visual Editor makes it simple.

Your WordPress Visual Editor includes the following functionality:

  • Add Media – Images, videos, music and files. We’ll discuss this more in another post.
  • Font Style – Bold, italics, strikethrough, underline. Groovy!
  • Lists – Make an unordered or numbered list. Like this one!
  • Quotes – make text really stand out.
  • Justify – Left, center, right and full-width justification. Align that text, yo!
  • Links – Make or break a link to any web URL (a URL is like http://designavl.com)
  • Page Break – make a “More” button that reveals more content – but only after the user clicks on “More.”
  • Spell Check – Good spelling is cruucial.
  • Full Screen – Use the editor in full screen mode.
  • Kitchen Sink – Hide or show the second line of icons.
  • Text Style – Change fonts (this function depends on how we set your site up. If you want to know what each one does, though – feel free to experiment. You can always erase or change it…)
  • Text Color – Changes text color. This one is, we hope, pretty obvious.
  • Paste Tools – Use these when pasting from Word or any other text editor. Otherwise, you can wind up with some funky text formatting that gets left over from copy/paste.
  • Erase – This erases formatting – not the text itself. If something is weird-looking, use this. It can be an easy way to correct formatting issues.
  • Symbols – Greek, math and more. Want a ©? It’s in there.
  • Indent – Indent your text. Or, if it’s in a list (see above,) it will push the text to the next “level” of indentation.
  • Undo – Undoes stuff. I really want one of these in my brain and on my mouth, but that’s another story for another time.
  • Help – Get help. If you REALLY need help, contact us. We’d be happy to lend a hand.

So, there’s a whole, whole lot you can do with your WordPress visual editor. Always remember – you can experiment all you want. WordPress sites are very open-ended, and if you make a mistake, it’s easy to drop back to an older version, or even start over with a “blank” page. Experiment, play and make your site YOURS.

We’re about 2 weeks away from the launch of our fabulous WordPress help, tutorial and resources section. Stay tuned!

WordPress 101 – Working with Posts & Pages

So, you’ve got a WordPress site (and if we built it, it looks awesome.) You’ve logged in to your Dashboard. Now what? How about a blog post or editing one of your pages?

It’s pretty simple – but there are a few things you need to remember:

  • Posts: This goes to your “blog” section. Depending upon how your site is set up, you can have different categories post to different parts of your website. That’s somewhat advanced, and if we did something like that with your site – we’ll talk.
  • Pages: These are your sites “pages.” About, Contact, Services, etc.

Their editor is laid out pretty much exactly the same – and if you watch the video, you’ll get a pretty good idea of some of the basic functionality that both offer.

One very important thing to keep in mind when you’re working with WordPress – it keeps backups of itself, it’s posts and it’s pages. If you screw something up, it’s easy to drop back to an older version. So – don’t stress. Edit away, have fun, experiment. If you break it, we can easily fix it. Oh – and another video, coming soon, will show YOU how to utilize the backup function…

Stay tuned – much more coming. Be sure to subscribe to our blog (click on the sidebar thing – over there on the right) to get updates in your email. We don’t spam, you can unsubscribe whenever you’d like. But – you’ll be sure to get all our WordPress pointers, right in your box. Sweet!

WordPress 101…The Dashboard

It’s no secret – we LOVE WordPress. It allows us to develop websites that look great and function like a dream. One of the best parts is that it allows customers to keep their site updated, change things up and add functionality – all without having to pay us to do it. It really helps the site owner control and fully develop their site. Pretty sweet!

While WordPress is easy and friendly to use, we still get quite a number of questions – so, we thought some resources, tips and tricks were in order. We’ll be putting up a new video every day, and adding a new section to our website that will bundle all our WordPress goodies into one area.

So – what is the WordPress “Dashboard?” It’s really kind of like the dash in your car. It puts all your controls within reach and keeps them organize in easy-to-understand groups. There’s no radio, but – well, you can’t have it all.

WPLOGINTo get to your WordPress dashboard, you’ll need to log in to your site. If we’ve developed your web site for you, you’ll have received an email with a link and your username and password. Usually, it’s http://yoursite.com/wp-admin or http://yoursite.com/wp-login.php. You’ll drop in your username and password, and you’ll be whisked away to your dashboard.

So, that’s it! WordPress is easy-peasy, huh? Well, here are some of the things you’ll see on the left-hand side of your Dashboard – the stuff you’re going to REALLY want to use:

  • Dashboard: Click that to get back to the base level of your site. You’ll also see update notifications in there.
  • Posts: This is what goes to your blog. Click “Add New” to add a new blog post (or news story, or update, or whatever you call the segment of your site that is the “Blog”)
  • Media: Manage your media files – photos, videos, documents, etc. Keep in mind that you can upload and manage media while in posts and pages, too. This option is really more for adding stuff that’s linked to in various parts of the site. For example, if you have a PDF that you want folks to be able to download, you would upload it using the “Media” segment – then you could just link to that file from other pages, in emails or other marketing materials. Newsletters, anyone?
  • Pages: This is where you can add, update and change pages.
  • Comments: Manage what other folks are saying on your site. Folks can say whatever they’d like – but you have the ability to approve or disapprove it. So, negative comments won’t appear unless you let them. You can also mark them as spam, because you WILL get spam comments. Just part of having a WordPress site. Don’t worry about them – nobody will see them, and they’re really not hurting much.
  • Appearance: Manage your theme, your menu and your widgets. We’ll get more into those later.
  • Plugins: This is where you’ll manage the plugins – things that add functionality to your site. Turn ’em on or off, delete them, add them, yippee!
  • Users: You can add or edit users here. You can add administrators (who have full access to the whole site,) or other levels that have varying access to your site and your Dashboard. Give people power, take it away, reset passwords, etc.
  • Tools: Not a lot going on here – but you can back up your pages and posts and what-not. Kind of cool.
  • Settings: A lot of options here – permalinks, privacy, site titles, etc. There’s a lot of power in this part – but be careful, as this is one spot you don’t want to mess up.

Now – you have a WordPress site. And you have some knowledge. Now, you’re dangerous…

Stay tuned – much more coming. Be sure to subscribe to our blog (click on the sidebar thing – over there on the right) to get updates in your email. We don’t spam, you can unsubscribe whenever you’d like. But – you’ll be sure to get all our WordPress pointers, right in your box. Sweet!

Asheville Web Design: Charlotte Street Computers

CHARLOTTE_STREET1When Asheville’s own Charlotte Street Computers needed a new web site designed and developed, they approached us – and we were reasonably excited. See, Charlotte Street Computers is Asheville’s best computer repair and sales shop – and their old site was, to say the least, lacking. So, we hooked ’em up.

  • Built using WordPress, so it’s super-functional.
  • Designed by us, so it’s super-sexy.
  • Optimized for search engines, so it’s super-easy to find.
  • Built using WooThemes, so it’s super-slick.

They’re happy, we’re happy, and Asheville has one more great website. If you need computer repair, training, sales or support – Charlotte Street Computers sincerely can’t be beat. If you need web design and development – well, you know where to go…

Asheville Web Design: Beer City Festival

beercityAsheville is Beer City. We design websites in Beer City. So, when the Beer City Festival needed a quick, attractive and super-functional website – they came to us.

Built from the ground up in a couple of days, this WordPress site is sleek and simple – but with plenty of functionality. Ecommerce, online ticketing (coming April 15, when they’re available,) and plenty of other features makes this site easy to use and easy to maintain. Beer guys are busy guys – and the last thing they need is a hard-to-use website.

The design scheme (the Beer City poster) is based on the work of Brent Baldwin at Image 420. Love them guys. We spun the colors off of their design – and built a quick website. Nice. We all win.

Check out the website at BeerCityFestival.com.

New Site Launch: ibmee.org

ibmeeportfolio1International Body-Mind Empowerment Enterprises (i.b.mee.) is a non-profit in Asheville, and they needed a super-functional, super-custom website to assist them in gathering and processing information. See, they’re out to change education from a rewards-based system to an empowerment system. Sweet! We set them up with a WordPress site, a Woo theme and a bunch of custom work. Forms with conditional logic, easy-to-update pages and blogs, and an online forum makes this a full-featured website.

Check ‘em out. Truly a great cause and a bunch of great folks.

Real Estate Website Design with WordPress? You bet…

santafeWordPress web design for real estate makes a lot of sense. Real estate agents and agencies need the ability to update the site regularly, and they need to have a site that is seen by Google. Add to that the need to have a really good-looking site, and you have the perfect client for our favorite CMS.

We have a great working relationship with Build Real Estate Results, and we’ve worked with them on countless websites. They’re great folks – and they’ve brought us a bunch of great clients. Nobel Davis at Santa Fe Exclusives is one such great client.  She needed a lot of features and a lot of customization. We were happy to help. Plus, Kathleen at BRER had the content and the page structure ready to roll – and the site came out (if we do say so ourselves) great…

Some features:

  • WordPress for easy management.
  • Lots of custom widget areas.
  • Gorgeous design.
  • Killer content.
  • A nifty Flash-based map of their coverage.
  • A whole lot more.

So – if you’re in Santa Fe and need a home – visit Nobel’s site. If you’re in need of a website and you’re anywhere in the world, contact us. We’re here. We’re ready. Let’s go.