i3dTHEMES interactive

i3dTHEMES TV://interactive 34 — check check

I don’t know about you, but I use checklists for everything.  From website setups to camping with the family, checklists are critical to making sure you haven’t forgotten anything important.  Like bug repellent.

Hey, it’s Brandon Devnich from i3dTHEMES with our weekly interactive segment where we share what we’re passionate about and what we’ve been working on here at i3dTHEMES.

So, checklists, they’re pretty big in my books.  A few months ago, I did a website launch checklist which detailed everything you should remember when setting up your website.  From making sure you have a responsive website, to adequate hosting.  One of the things on that checklist that not many webmasters check off is the SSL.  SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer.  It’s a security certificate that means that any communication between your website and your visitor’s web browser is encrypted.  Actually, today’s security certificates no longer use the SSL protocol, they use something called TLS, or Transport Layer Security.  It doesn’t matter so much to us what protocol is used these days.  What matters is that making sure your website is viewed over HTTPS (encrypted) rather than plain HTTP (unencrypted) is one of those “checkboxes” that you’ve definitely addressed.

Back in 2014, Google announced that they were beginning to consider those websites that force users to use HTTPS may get a boost in their rankings.

It’s just one of those things that every website should consider doing.

Historically speaking, it’s been an additional cost to get one set up — anywhere from $50/year to $500/year depending upon the type of certificate.

But in the last year, there has been a movement to create an “open certificate authority” that provides a free and automated mechanism to encrypt your website.  This service is called “Let’s Encrypt” and it is sponsored by some very big names in the industry.

And here is where things get interesting — you may have heard that we have been in the process of upgrading our web hosting infrastructure at i3dTHEMES.  The wonderful thing about the new server software that we’re now running is that it supports Let’s Encrypt.  Not only are the new servers twice as fast as the old, but they now support more features.

And now, having your site encrypted using HTTPS is easier than ever.  If you are hosted with us, you really should check in to take advantage of this option.  It’s free, and it’ll get that very important little checkbox on your website checklist finally checked off.

Design Checklists

Colin has been working hard at powering through his design checklist.  When he builds a new website template, he starts with the research phase where he gathers together different design ideas.  In the mockup phase, he creates the design framework for what will be used in the build phase.  In the build phase, where he is right now, for the new design we’ve code named Cinematic, there is an extensive checklist that is about 85 points long.

Colin has been designing website template since 2001, and over the course of 16 years he has built an impressive step-by-step routine that guarantees that he doesn’t miss anything that needs to be included in a website.

He checklist is essential to the success of the design.

A relatively recent addition to his checklist is the extensive testing for mobile first responsive design which is critical to website in today’s internet.

Code Checklists

In the code lab this week, I’ve been working on image optimization.  Image optimization is one of the key tasks in the “making sure your website is loading and rendering fast” checklist.  If you have images on your web pages that are un-optimized, this is the step that can make the biggest impact to the load time of your website, bar none.

You can do your own image optimization fairly easily by using a website service called tinypng.com.

We’re working on image optimization as a part of the automated PageSpeed optimization tool that we’re building for the WordPress platform.  We’re about 50% of the way through our feature checklist and on track for a July 1st launch of the WordPress plugin.

This plugin is based off of our Accelerator website plugin for traditional websites that boosts your web page load and render time, and consequently gets you a super high Google PageSpeed score.

In Summary

Checklists rock.  We’d be lost without them.  They help keep us on track, and make sure we don’t forget anything.  Because  remembering to encrypt a website, or take bug spray camping, can really be the difference between “it bit” or “it rocked!”