DIAVLO: A web design worth 50x what we are selling it for

Truly, if we sold Diavlo to a client hungry for a unique and engaging design, we would have no trouble selling the design alone for $3500.

The amount of time that went into development alone is worth that, then there’s the intrinsic ‘je ne sais quoi’ factor.

diavlo

You see, DIAVLO has what we, in the web geek world, call “a cinematic experience”.  When you load the home page, you just feel a part of the experience.

The fullscreen slider is one thing, but… go watch what happens when you scroll… it does something you don’t see in sliders.  It parallaxes.  In other words, it scrolls at a different rate than the rest of the page.

Lower in the page, other regions parallax as well.

When you get to a particular point in the page, the top menu slides back into view, fixed to the top of your screen, to allow you (and your visitor) to comfortably navigate site.  It helps to anchor the user and allow them to utilize the rest of your site, and keep a sense of bearing.

Headings and icons slide into view when you scroll past them.

The entire EXPERIENCE is DESIGNED to be CINEMATIC.  To elicit a VISCERAL reaction that has you not only CONNECTING with the website, but also encourages you to keep EXPLORING the content.

This is so important in today’s web world where you have to balance the ideas of CONTENT is KING vs DESIGN is KING.

This one is definitely worth 50x what we’re charging.  But, we’re offering it to you, of course, for just $79.

Go take a look, I think you’ll agree this is one of the best we’ve ever released.

WordPress Themes now E-COMMERCE Ready

I’m excited to announce that we have made a new package available for our Aquila Framework WordPress Themes — the “Pro” Package — that is compatible with WooCommerce and WP E-Commerce, two fantastic e-commerce solutions.

If you already have a one of our latest generation WordPress Themes, and you want to run a storefront, then you can upgrade to this new package by taking the following steps.

  1. Go to your account at my.i3dthemes.com
  2. Find your WordPress Theme from the summary list on your account home page, and click on the “License Information” icon
  3. Click the “Upgrade” button on the right side of the License Information summary.
  4. Proceed through the steps to upgrade to the Pro package.  If you have a Multi-Site or Developer version, you will already qualify for this new package.
  5. Once you’ve run through the upgrade process, log in to your WordPress site dashboard
  6. From the left menu, go to the “Update Theme” menu option, which is probably at the very bottom of the menu (or available as a sub-menu from your THEME Framework menu.
  7. Run through the Update process.
  8. You’re done!

Now, all you need to do is go and grab WooCommerce or WP E-Commerce from the Plugins repository.  Activate whichever one you want to go with.

If you’re going to use the WooCommerce system, be sure to have the WooCommerce plugin create the pages upon initialization.

How to Solve WordPress 3.9 Upgrade that Breaks Page/Post Editor

Earlier this month, WordPress launched their latest version (v3.9 aka “Smith”) in which they upgraded the TinyMCE system to 4.0.

And then every WordPress site that upgraded to 3.9, that had TinyMCE plugins that were not compatible with TinyMCE 4.0, had a broken Page/Post Editor.

Short story is, javascript errors caused by out of code that is no longer supported in the new version (there was no backwards compatibility with this upgrade to TinyMCE 4.0).

What a PAIN in the “post”erior… POST…erior.. get it?  Nevermind, sorry.

And, this all went down while I was away for a week.  The team had to come up with an interim solution for those customers who had our WordPress Themes that experienced this.

I’m happy to announce that the Aquila and Orion framework downloads are ALL UPDATED.  So, if you download a new copy from your account, right now, you’ve got a version that is compatible with WP 3.9.

But what if you have an existing site?  What if you’ve upgraded to 3.9 and have just realized that you can’t edit any of your posts?  Can you apply a patch of the latest files to your system?  Yes.  Do make sure to make a backup copy of your theme folder on your website prior to making these updates.

The Solution: Short Description [TL;DR]

The best way is to do a manual patch where you download your product package and then log in to your site via FTP and then upload the following file and folder to your theme folder.

  • functions.php
  • includes/framework/functions.php (if the file exists — the includes/framework folder only exists as a part of the Aquila framework)
  • includes/admin/tinymce_plugins/ [folder with all containing files/folders within]
Edit: ALL Themes (including the Aquila framework themes) need to have their functions.php files updated as well.  In my videos that follow, I may mention that this is not the case however there was another bug discovered April 28th which requires that the main functions.php file now be updated for all themes.

The Solution: Update Files Manually via FTP

The Solution: Update Files via Aquila Framework Dashboard

The Solution: Update Files via Orion Framework Dashboard

i3dTHEMES safe from Heartbleed

You may have heard of the recent vulnerability in the OpenSSL system, discovered earlier this month, dubbed Heartbleed.

We wanted to reassure our users and customers that our network of servers are not (nor have ever been) affected by this vulnerability. This includes all of our web hosting servers, i3dthemes storefront and members area websites.

This is a serious vulnerability, but thankfully we run unaffected versions of the OpenSSL software. If you wish to learn more about Heartbleed, there is a website dedicated to answering your questions.

Dedicated mobile sites, and why they’re bad for your business.

Cloud Social Media App Sync
Mobile devices access the same content as desktop browsers in an ever increasing connected world. If you denying your visitors your traditional website’s content, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

If you’re a webmaster or business owner, you’ve probably received an email, or phone call, or both (sometimes several times a day) from someone with a service that will provide a “mobile” site for your visitors.

These services will basically create a separate website that your mobile visitors will be directed to, if they land on your regular website, that is formatted specifically for a mobile browser.  Sound great, doesn’t it?

No!  Ugh.

There is a MUCH much (much much much) better solution available.

We’re not the only one that believe that running a separate site (and paying someone for the service) is a bad idea.  Bruce Lawson over at Smashing Magazine wrote nearly two years ago on this.  He has a number of great points, but what it boils down to are (from our point of view) three major problems.

The Problems

Problem #1: Arbitrarily Pushing Visitors (and customers) from your GREAT Content

If you’re pushing someone in a mobile device over to a site that has nothing but an “about” page, how to “contact” you with perhaps a map, and some social media links, you are assuming that is the only thing that your visitor wants.

This is where you need to find a balance between the two camps of “content is king” and “design is king”.

It is true, in the “local search” market, mobile devices are often used to quickly look up and contact the merchant.  The primary use of a mobile phone is, well, to call someone (or at least, it used to be) — looking at cat videos seems to be a increasingly popular pastime.. but I digress.

Let me give you an example of someone who is looking to contact a merchant, but also wants to see what they offer…  how about anyone looking for a product or service, such as a florist, a barber, or antique dealer.

If you are arbitrarily limiting what a user is viewing based on their device (as in, seriously limiting the content) that is much like saying in the sense of a brick-and-mortar setting,  “We think we want your business, but because you’re wearing glasses, we’ll simplify things for you.  Please just look at some posters on our front door — don’t bother coming in, all the information you need is there, trust us.  By the way, the door is locked, come back without glasses.”

How would you feel about that?

It might be enough information, but as more and more mobile users are using their mobile devices EXCLUSIVELY to access the web (I can’t remember the last time I pulled up my laptop at home.. oh that’s right, I gave it to my mother-in-law because I NEVER used it).

So if you want to anger your visitors, and spend more money than you have to, go and sign up for one of these services.

Problem #2: Negative Impact of Lost Time-On-Site and Lost Page Views

Good GRIEF.  This is something that wasn’t even considered five years ago.  But it’s HUGELY important.

If you’re sending someone AWAY from your website, even if it is in a “subdomain” situation, it isn’t helping the ranking of your own primary website.

Google looks at the time-on-site, time-on-page, number of page-views (plus a number of other secret metrics), to figure out how to rank you for any given key term.

If a user is immediately redirected off to a different domain, and doesn’t spend any time browsing your site for contact information, or your content (be it products, photos, services, or whatever you offer) then you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.  Google will not attribute the time that the user could have spent (and is now spending somewhere else) to your site.

Problem #3: The Need to Maintain Two Sites

This one is a pretty basic concept.  If you have information in two places, then it’s likely something will get out of date.

Granted, a simple “mobile specific” site, as we have been talking about, doesn’t contain a lot of content, it still is something you need to maintain.  And pay for.

The Solution

Just run one website.

Really?  Just one?  Yes, just one.

But make sure it is MOBILE FRIENDLY, or as we in the business specializing in web design call it… “responsive”.

What “responsive” means is that the containers that the content is resides in, in your web page, should “respond” to a different browser width.  Should you be on a desktop, tablet, or mobile phone, the content is all the same, just how it is presented is different.

But HOW?

Oh, well there’s this fantastic mobile-first framework that we use in our designs called “Bootstrap”.  It’s designed by some of the guys over at Twitter.  You might have heard of Twitter.

Anyway, the Bootstrap framework simplifies the organization of content for all devices.  As web developers, we set up the organization of the content containers so they shift “this way” or “that way”, based on the size of the device.  Sometimes we even hide superfluous content if it seems like something that mobile users don’t need to see.

The benefits of  using a responsive framework such as Bootstrap includes only having one site to manage, keeping visitors on site so that you can benefit from longer time-on-site and pages-viewed metrics, as well as allowing the visitor to view the content they WANT to view.

Having a mobile friendly site can mean the difference between someone being able to find they product that they want to purchase (and still call you) and those that have no idea what you have to offer, and subsequently go find another website in search of what they want.

Responsive Websites For Newbies

Now, part of the problem with having to maintain a website that is mobile friendly, is that if you’re going to be managing a traditional website, it’s a good idea to know how to make the regions different sizes.  Bootstrap has a fantastic resource site.

But if you’re not a web developer, it can seem a bit overwhelming. That’s why we’ve designed and created a WordPress theme framework that does all of the thinking for you.

Aquila (our cool code-name for the framework) was developed to provide all of the power of the MOBILE FRIENDLY nature of the Bootstrap system, but wrap it in an Graphical User Interface (GUI) powered by WordPress.

The short and simple description is this: Aquila allows a user to click and drag to change the widths of the regions, as well as enable and disable regions for mobile and tablet users.

We have a number of professional wordpress themes that utilize this framework.

You can be online in minutes with a mobile, tablet and desktop friendly website all wrapped into one.  Watch our introduction video here:

Unlock ALL of our Website Plugins for one low price.

If you’ve been on our site recently, you would have likely seen a couple of promotions we were running with regard to our Numo Website Plugins/Enhancements.

Truth be told, we have had astounding response to these promotions.

So, we’ve decided to make it a permanent offer.  You can unlock ALL of our website plugins for just $399 when you bundle them with a website template — this ALSO includes the price of the website template.

That’s a steal.

Actually, that’s more than a steal.  That’s a ridiculously crazy price.  The regular price is over $1000 for all of the plugins plus the template.

WHY are we doing this?  Because we want you to buy them!  🙂  And $399 is just the right price.

Enjoy!

Now Accepting Webmastering Clients

I can’t believe how many times a week we hear about how someone can not get a hold of their webmaster.  Their webmaster won’t return their phone calls.   Or, their webmaster has left town.  Or, their webmaster has allegedly died.  Died?!

Seriously, are there really that many unreliable webmasters (read: unprofessional webmasters) that can’t:

  1. answer an email
  2. answer a phone call
  3. do the work they were contracted to do
  4. do the work they were contracted to do in a reasonable amount of time

Seriously, where do these people get off giving the rest of us in the industry a bad name?  Surely, it can’t be because the clients are THAT demanding.

In any case, in response to all these requests we’ve had lately (it’s not like we weren’t doing the work already, we just didn’t have the plans set out), we’ve set up a number of plans based on the following:

  1. what small business really need
  2. how much time they typically would need per month
  3. restrictive budgets
  4. what the rest of the market is offering

So we took at look at what the “professionals” were charging (and I use the term loosely) for some pretty basic plans and said “seriously?  you’re charging THAT much?”  We figured we could do better.

Check Out Our Plans

You can sign up for monthly, yearly, or quarterly plans.  Bigger price break on the quarterly and yearly terms, but we recommend the quarterly plan for most individuals.

But here’s the deal.  We’re only accepting a limited number of clients, as we are committed to not overbooking ourselves.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “yeah right, you’ll take as many clients as will want to sign up” Not true.  We will only take on what we can handle.

And right now, we’ll be evaluating our commitment levels on new signups daily as we reserve the right to shut down the new signup at any time.  Right now, we have room.  Next week, maybe not.

So if you need to have your website managed, visit our webmastering plans page.  Each plan includes web hosting and domain name registration.  Some of the plans even have roll-over hours (you can roll them over to the next billing cycle).

Don’t delay on this one, because when the signup is closed, it’s closed.  If you have any questions at all, feel free to call us toll free 1-866-943-5733.

Nivo Slider Image Display Timing

Hi Folks!

I wanted to share some tips on changing the timing for the Nivo Slider Component. Our Gen10 products include the large Nivo Slider on the index / primary layouts, and ( if you have the Standard or Pro ) package you’ll also have the Nivo Slider Small included with the Secondary Layouts ( which is most of your pages ).

The default timing for the image ( title and descriptions ) to be displayed is 10 seconds. You can alter this as you need. All you need to do is edit the ‘pause’ setting in the Nivo Slider javascript file.

INSTRUCTIONS:

To Change the timing for the Nivo Slider used in your primary layouts ( default slider used on the ‘index.htm’ page ).

Step 1:

The first thing you’ll need to do, is remove the ‘nivo slider small’ component from your page ( index.htm ) or ( primary ) layout page, as the timing variable used for this component ( although turned OFF via CSS ) will still affect the Nivo Slider component if you plan on using different timings for your Nivo Slider ( primary ) and Nivo Slider Small ( secondary ) components.

[ … the reason we include both components in your page, is so you can quickly and easily change your page layout from primary to secondary and visa verse by simply changing the style sheet from primary.css to secondary.css and visa verse … ]

In a Microsoft web editor, open your page.

Switch to CODE view.

Scroll down the page and ‘locate’ your <div id=”nivo_slider_small”>, here’s a screenshot of what that would look like:

2-21-2014 9-38-32 AM

remove the highlighted code.

IF you are adjusting the timing for the ‘nivo slider small’ located in your secondary page layouts, you do not need to delete the <div id=”nivo_slider”> .. Bonus, less work.

Step 2:

Now, you can adjust the timing for your nivo slider or nivo slider small…

  1. open your “Site / javascript” (folder)
  2. open the “jquery.nivo.slider.js (file)
  3. open the “jquery.nivo.slider.small.js (file)
  4. scroll down to the VERY bottom of both files
  5. locate the //Default settings: for

    pauseTime: 10000,

  6. the 10000 is milliseconds, so in real world time that equals 10 seconds… so changing 10000 to 5000 would reduce the image display time to 5 seconds, and increasing to 15000 would change the actual display time to 15 seconds… based on this you should be able to do the math to figure out the timing in milliseconds that will work for you.

WordPress Plugin Review: CAPTCHA Pro by BestWebSoft

Now, I’m not one to endorse a third party all that often.  I’d rather write my own code, and endorse MYSELF!  That’s the proud coder in my speaking.

But that said, I wanted something that worked, and didn’t have time to write a “skill testing question” captcha solution for the comments section and login box for the back end of wordpress.

I had installed the free CAPTCHA solution from Best Web Soft in my wife’s site, and a couple of others, over the last month.    Spambots were driving me INSANE, and I didn’t want to activate the Akismet plugin (call me cheap).

Well, the CAPTCHA plugin from BWS was the best zero dollars I ever spent.

And then I went and installed BuddyPress for our own forum here at i3dTHEMES.com — good grief, within hours of it going up (without any incoming links), I had spammers signing up and creating profiles with links back to their own site.

Do the people that set up these spam bots have nothing BETTER to do with their time?   Ugh.  I guess the answer is it helps them, so it must be worth the time and effort.

In any case, I didn’t want them on my site.  And I thought, hey, lets get this CAPTCHA solution from BWS working on in BuddyPress and bbPress.  Turns out, that extension is a part of their Pro version.

Seriously, I didn’t hesitate on the $9.95 price tag.  Ten bucks to save a huge headache?  Probably less than the extra large bottle of Tylenol I’d need to get from the local drug store if I didn’t get these spammers dealt with.

Took less than a minute via their checkout and VOI-freakin-LA, it’s installed.

And I didn’t have to swallow a pill, just a $10 charge to my CC.

Thanks BWS (no affiliation WHAT-so-ever).

If your website isn’t mobile ready, you’re going to be in trouble.

iStock_000023413279_Small
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’re going to be in trouble!  Mobile phones are ubiquitous, and as time progresses, those that don’t have a mobile friendly website are going to miss out on a HUGE potential.

Seriously, the last thing anyone wants to hear is that there might be something that they haven’t done that could be negatively impacting their business.

We get those too, those moments of “oh crud” (or other expletive) .  Your temperature rapidly rises, your heart beat causes your vision to swim a bit, and you wonder if you can go hide in that back office long enough for the problem to go away… but it never does.

Luckily, those don’t happen too often.  But wouldn’t it be great if someone could tell you, BEFORE those moments happen, what you could do to avoid the trouble.

I’ll tell you a little story about this one such topic, with regard to the mobile web.

Earlier this month, my wife, who owns a busy little flower shop, says to me “I really want you to make my website mobile friendly!” — I’m sure you all love doing what you do at work, when you go home too.  I had already dragged my feet for the last six months.  A real great hubby hey?

I could come up with a dozen excuses: by the time the kids are in bed I’m too tired, the yard needs tending, I have to fix the fence, I have to clean the gutters…

the gutters?

really?

Who really wants to do that?!

Well, you can tell that I wasn’t particularly motivated to refit her website (which I had designed some 7 years previous when mobile devices were not ubiquitous like they are today).  But, the time had come.  Ugh.

Let me just say, I love my wife.  She is an incredible motivator.  🙂

A few hours later, and a lot of feedback from my sweetie (who had a vision on how it should look), we had a working home page, catalog, and wedding photos gallery.  Hot damn!

Now here’s the kicker.  Her “mobile usage” was already at about 37%.  Her “bounce rate” was about 54%.  Considering she had a pretty successful online presence already, I wasn’t quite sure how much of an improvement making her site mobile friendly would have on her overall business.

Less than a month later, her bounce rate is down by 4% points (that is HUGE), and the percentage of mobile users is up by 7%!!  Now, here’s the thing.  Those mobile users were possibly going to already come to her site anyway, but likely “drop off” because the site wasn’t mobile friendly.

Or not.

You see, google takes a look at your site and if it is mobile friendly, and someone is “googling” for something that you might come up for, if you HAVE a mobile friendly site, it is much more likely that google will rank your site HIGHER than if it wasn’t.

And THAT was what happened this last month.  Her search engine results position went UP.

That’s right, UP.

And, with more traffic, and lower bounce rate, her business is up this month.  Now she’s complaining that she’s too busy.  Sorry sweetie.  🙂

Let me say, I’m kicking myself that I hadn’t done this update for her sooner.

So, the moral of the story is, if you haven’t invested the time and money in re-vamping your site so that it is mobile friendly, you’re doing yourself an injustice.

Suck it up, and get it done.

The gutters can wait.

For reference, we have fantastic mobile friendly website templates and wordpress themes.