WordPress Design and Development in AshevilleWordPress Design & Development

WordPress is a great way to create robust, good-looking websites. We’ve got some tips, tricks and resources to help make your site kick-ass.

With WordPress being one of the fastest-growing platforms for web development, and with our vast experience in designing, developing and maintaining great-looking, super-functional WordPress sites, we have a little bit to offer in the way of expertise.

This is where we’ll blog about the sexiest open-source web platform – and why you should care about it.

It’s (semi)fascinating stuff. Give it a read:

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

Human Resources in Asheville

WordPress Site Launch, Logo and Human Resources…

Look! A happy client! Go, Jamie, go!

Look! A happy client! Go, Jamie, go!

HR Designs offers on-call human resources solutions to businesses big and small – outsourcing what can be a difficult job, and one that can be personal and uncomfortable (and unpleasant if handled improperly.) HR Designs partners with businesses and helps them in many areas – hiring, firing and personnel strategies. Everyone wins – and if someone decides to be butthurt about being canned, the company can say “Hey, HR Designs fired you. Wasn’t me!”

We recently had the pleasure to work with Jamie at HR Designs in developing a logo, website and marketing materials.

Very cool company with a great concept and an owner with a great passion for human resources and for enabling business growth. Jamie was a lot of fun to work with, and the logo, website and collateral turned out great! Take THAT, Toby.

Visit HRDesigns.com to check out the logo and the HR goodness. The site features:

  • Built using WordPress, so it’s easy to keep it all updated and humming on along.
  • Theme based on Canvas by WooThemes, so it looks great and functions like a champ.
  • Contact forms, content toggles and all sorts of bells and whistles.
  • Responsive design, so the whole shebangabang looks great on all devices – phones, pads, laptops and desktops.

Thanks to Jamie and the crew at HR Designs for a fun project. Even Michael Scott would approve…

WordPress Site Design for HR Designs, Asheville NC

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…

Spring Has Sprung & We’re Spring-Loaded

chick

Spring in Asheville is a wonderful time – everything is budding and going green, gardens are being tilled up, the days are bright and warmer, the nights are crisp and we’re all pleased to virtually no end. We’ve welcomed ten feathered beings into our family, many new clients into the fold, and we’re going full steam ahead on some exciting and varied projects. Of course, all this great action has caused us to neglect our blogging duties – but, heck, new starts abound…

We’ve also got some pretty big news on the Woo Themes front. We can’t let it out of the bag at the moment – but let’s just say that  your favorite WordPress and Woo Theme developers are being recognized for general awesomeness. We’ve known it, you’ve known it – but now it’s becoming official. We can neither confirm nor deny that it’s US – but we can say that it’s someone very close to us. Stay tuned for an announcement.

We’re also working hard on a great WordPress knowledge hub. Videos, customization tutorials, links, reviews and resources. We’ll be offering access to the whole kit & kaboodle to our clients first – but it’ll be free and it’ll be something you want to bookmark. Or, you might want to tattoo it on your forehead. Up to you.

So – in the words of the inimitable David Yow, “I feel carbonated. I feel spring-loaded.” Yep. There’s a lot going on, and we’re excited. Only pop music can save us now!

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.)

WordPress 3.8 Released. Charlie Parker is Terrific.

Last week, WordPress 3.8 “Parker” was released. “Parker” is named for Charlie Parker – who, honestly, is pretty kick-ass. While this is a good upgrade, I’m not too sure I’d term it as kick-ass as Charlie Parker. All things said, though – it’s a solid release, and the addition of more native mobile support is worth the price of admission.

Responsive WordPress DashboardSo – what does the update entail, and why should you care? Well:

  • Mobile-Ready Dashboard: Like I said, this is worth the update if there were no other features. This bit makes it a snap to administer your WordPress site on a tablet or phone (great for writing posts while you sit in the parking lot, waiting for your kids to finish up whatever it is that kids do…) Previous versions of the WordPress dashboard were a little bit of  a nosebleed when you went mobile (although there are apps,) and this addresses the problem quite admirably.
  • Choose Your Color Theme: Not a really big deal, but it’s always cool to personalize things. This feature allows you to set up the color of the dashboard to better “match your personality.” Unfortunately, there are only 8 themes to choose from, so you’d better hope you’ve got one of those 8 personalities.
  • New Widget Panel: This is pretty nice. The widget options panel has been cleaned up, making for less scrolling and dragging. You can still drag-and-drop widgets, but your can also click to install. This is a MUCH better experience when you’re mobile. When you’re using a desktop or normal browser, it’s not all that fabulous – but it’s a step in the right direction. Now, a built-in WSIWYG editor for widgets would be sweet. But – widgets are getting better.
  • New Style: Looks good. As I mentioned, you can choose your color. The default icons have been updated. It FEELS snappier – but it could just be me. Lots of new fonts and it’s all a little cleaner and more modern – but I never really had much of a problem with the way it was prior to “Parker.”

Should you update? Sure. So far, I’ve not found a real downside. No major incompatibilities that I’ve seen or that I’ve heard reported. The new style is nice, and the mobile feature makes it worth a look, even if there weren’t other additionss. Of course, you should ALWAYS back up your WordPress site and database before you update (Duplicator is pretty great and easy) and make sure that you test after you upgrade – don’t want a broken site turning folks off.

If you need help updating your WordPress site, contact us. We’d be happy to help.

In the meantime, enjoy a little smooth jazz from Charlie Parker. Good stuff. And I’m not a jazz fan. Unless it’s played by Andy Gill.

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?