Have You Tested Your Contact Form?

got email? maybe not!

Take a break. Open up your WordPress site and try sending an email to yourself through your contact form. Now check your emails to be sure it was received… be patient… wait… wait. Still not received? You may have a problem.

What’s the cause?

Have you changed your email address? If you’ve started using a different email address or have never set up your address in your email client (your reader) then you won’t be getting contacts from your website that use that address.

What’s your PHP? WordPress uses a programming language called PHP for short. It sits on the server. If your hosting company is not updated to a latest version of PHP your contact form may not work. Recently a client’s host was running 5.3 and when updated it was running 7.0.25 which meant the contact form started working again.

Has SMTP been configured? If your WordPress site hasn’t been configured to send emails using SMTP, then your form is may be dead.

And the final point may seem the most obvious: Have your WordPress plugins been updated? Also, has your WordPress software been updated?

If your contact form is dead, call Design to Spec. I’ll get to the cause and get it fixed.

Love WordPress For Images — It’s Easier For You!

love wordpress for imagesUsing images online is easier than ever… you should love WordPress for images.

Q. What size image do I need for my WordPress blog?

A. The Internet displays photos and images at a lower resolution than you would need for printing.  Back in the days before WordPress an image would have to be resized  from 300 dpi to 72 dpi before it could be displayed on a website. This meant that Photoshop or another program was needed to alter an image. Today with WordPress you won’t need to resize your photos. Simply upload images from your computer desktop, a thumb-drive, and even your your smart phone!

Downside of Mobile Friendly WordPress Plugin

I’ve been asked again about adding a Mobile Friendly WordPress Plugin is a good solution for the new Google requirements. It’s likely that if you have a customized WordPress theme, a responsive plugin will not produce satisfactory results. This post will show some examples.

Using a Mobile Friendly WordPress Plugin

I took some screen shots of a live website on an iphone (I’ve wiped out the identifying features). Although Google doesn’t recognize this as a “mobile friendly” site, it’s still attractive on a smart phone, and attractive is what most website owners want.

before Mobile Friendly WordPress Plugin

Adding a Mobile Friendly WordPress Plugin will make a site compliant with Google’s guidelines for responsive website design. HOWEVER, it’s likely you won’t be happy with the results. The plugin itself needs styling, other plugins in use may not be responsive and will have to be deleted and new ones installed that aren’t in conflict with the mobile friendly plugin, and then reconfigured.

using a Mobile Friendly WordPress Plugin

You’ll notice too that some of the things you’d expect to see on your site have disappeared. Little things? Well, how about your logo?

More Plugin Problems

Another site shows how dramatically your custom formatting and some pretty important stuff can disappear. Let’s start with a “before” plugin screen shot. I’ve added a big orange arrow to show placement of a Google ad under the site logo and menu.

mobile-friendly

And now for the “after” plugin screen shot. Ugh! No more logo. The mobile friendly plugin adds some of it’s own design elements that need to be reconfigured… mint green bar, gray background that makes images with white backgrounds look like a cheap paste job. Remember the big orange arrow? Yup, the Google ad drops off the site! If your site earns revenue from ads this can be a disaster.

photo 2

I know the idea of a web redesign can be a big fat pain. However, I’m recommending to clients with highly customized WordPress websites that they consider moving to a truly responsive them rather than adding a plugin. With WordPress, your content is already created and stored in the database so you aren’t having to re-write and start from scratch. Contact me at Design to Spec for customized mobile friendly, responsive website design themes that can look a lot like your current WordPress site.

Responsive Web Design Caters to Aging Baby Boomers

responsive websites for seniorsWebsite owners can no longer sit back on the laurels of their older websites. The Baby Boomer generation is unlike the WWII generation—this generation has converted to technology and are using smart phones, tablets, and other handheld devices into their 50’s and beyond. This means that if you website can’t accommodate the 50 plus generation, you may be missing the boat.

The stats say that a Baby Boomer turns 50 every 7 seconds! That’s huge because simple math says that’s 4,000,000 50th birthdays in 2015. That means there’s no end to the laxative and cholesterol drug commercials on TV. It also means that if you’re website isn’t friendly to the aging population… you may be missing a large segment of clients or customers.

What makes responsive websites so usable by the aging Baby Boomers?

btn-1Responsive Web Design Caters to Dexterity

No matter what age having a larger menu means the user can “surf” a site easier that trying to click on smaller links on a small screen, like on a phone or tablet. For some reason as users age the word “fumbling” comes into play and larger, defined links mean less fumbling on a smart phone screen.

btn-2Responsive Web Design Gives Senior Web Users Visual Clues.

You may have noticed that older folks are more prone to wearing glasses. Small text and small links are lost on users who need to struggle to see them. I’ve actually seen users take out a magnifying glass to ready a menu! Having a large easy to see menu will lead to more clicks.

btn-3A Word About Patience

You may think that age brings patience. Well, maybe for somethings, however do you think Baby Boomers who can’t find what they want right away on your website will have the patience to stick around? NOPE! If your web visitors can’t find your phone number at the top of screen or the link to what they want—they’re gone!

The day has come to convert to a responsive, mobile ready website. It’ll grab the 4 million who turn 50 this year, users who’ve already turned 50 and younger users who are accustomed to mobile ready sites.