Cynthia Salazar, owner of Capitol Florist – the only flower shop in down town Olympia, needed a website to show off their beautiful seasonal arrangements. She was referred to Sea-Wing Designs by another satisfied client and couldn’t be happier with the decision. We worked closely together to create exactly what she was imagining. The WordPress site is fully responsive to all screen sizes and mobile devices and has a fly-out left column menu for the larger screens. It features a lightbox gallery to display examples of their stunning arrangements. Jason, from Sea-Wing Designs provided training to Cynthia and her staff so that they can continue to update the gallery with current pictures. Please visit CapitolFlorist.com to view their beautiful work.
We are proud to announce the Launch of a new website for the Saint Andrew’s House retreat center. The old website was difficult for them to maintain and in need of a new look. The board of directors requested Sea-Wing Designs design and implement a website that would reflect the beauty and peace of the center that they maintain. They are very happy with the results. Following the construction, I was invited to the center to provide a training to the staff and make a presentation to the board of directors.
Please take the time to visit their new website SaintAndrewsHouse.org.
Please welcome Chehalis Livestock Auction as the latest website designed by Sea-Wing Designs. The staff at Chehalis Livestock Market were looking to improve the functionality of their website that they had been using for many years, both for their customers and for their ability to make regular changes to the website. The site includes a changing image box on the front page, updated livestock price lists, an image gallery for their consignment auctions and a Google locator map on the contact form. The design meets their specifications and matches the industry.
We decided that we wanted our website to be better—Better looking, better functioning, better access for updates, and better information available timely to our customers. Jason at Sea-Wing Design was recommended to us my our networking technician—-and WOW—we have been very, very pleased. From the initial meeting Jason made us feel comfortable, assured us he could deliver to us an easily accessible website in a timely manner. Along the way we made several changes, which Jason welcomed our ideas and encouraged us to make it how we wanted it. He was patient and professional when we met to learn how to manage our website. Jason continues to be available to answer questions, his fee was also very fair. I would highly recommend Sea-Wing Design to you. Please feel free to call or email us if any questions.
~Brenda Balmelli, Chehalis Livestock Market
This is a tutorial on editing a group of products in OpenCart using the ExcelPort extension. I will be updating products in OpenCart v18.104.22.168 and using ExcelPort v2.2.2.
Below is a video that goes into depth on how to enter multiple products. I will create a new post that explains this in more detail.
If you have found this tutorial useful or you have any questions, please post your comments below.
This a quick tutorial on setting up your Dwolla account to make automatic payments. This article assumes that you have already signed up for your free Dwolla account, if you haven’t you can do so at https://www.dwolla.com. You will also need to link your bank account which takes a few days. Go to https://www.dwolla.com/fundingsources and click “Add a funding source”. Dwolla will then make two small deposits into your bank account in a few business days and you enter that amount in the verify page. You will receive email instructions on how to do this.
Set up payments
In order to set up an automatic payment that will pay another Dwolla user on a recurring basis, first click on the “Recurring Payments” link in the top menu. Then click on the link in the page that says “Schedule recurring payment”Now you will see the following screen: Fill out this form.
- If you are sending the payment to Sea-Wing Designs, you can enter 812-872-3728 in the first field, other wise use the id or email of another Dwolla member.
- Enter the amount that you will be sending.
- You can add a note about the payment if you want.
- Select how often you will be making the payment; weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly.
- Choose your bank account if you have verified more than one.
- Enter your PIN that you created when you set up the account. If you don’t remember it, you can click on the “Forgot PIN?” link and they will email you a new one.
- Click next.
The next screen just asks you to confirm your choices and when you do, everything should work just fine.
The question is asked occasionally: Why should I pay for someone to build a website when I can just get one for free? This is an important question and the answer really depends on your business model and marketing plan. In this article I will compare using Weebly to create a free website to hiring a designer to build a custom website using WordPress.
Weebly–good and bad
Lets first talk about the good stuff. Weebly has made a platform that is extremely easy to use. Setting up an account is simple and does not require anything more than an email address. Once you set up your free account It is right on to building. Drag the element you want on your page and put it where you want. Do you need more than one column, just put elements side by side. Almost anyone with any keyboard and mouse skills can put something together.
Next, you go to the design section. Here there is an ample amount of ready made themes available for you to choose from. Maybe you can find one that fits your style. If not you can do some coding and create your own. (maybe hire a designer at this point) In the Pages section you get to create as many pages as you need and set the page lay out for each one.
You say you need to sell some products, no problem. Weebly has an e-commerce section too. in the free account you can set up a few. You can also add a photo gallery or a YouTube video as well, all very easy.
Now for the harder stuff
Since we are talking about the free account there are some limitations you should know about. First, you don’t get your own domain name. You get to be on a Weebly sub-domain (i.e http://YourBusiness.Weebly.com) This is a big concern to businesses who want their customers to remember their web address. If you want to use your own domain name you have to at least upgrade to the basic plan, currently $4.08US per month if you sign up for a year. You also must register a domain name. If you purchase it through weebly you will pay the comparatively high price of $40 per year. The free plan also includes a Weebly ad in the footer of your website until you upgrade.
Designing in the free and even basic plan have limits on the tools you can use from the drag and drop menu. If you want to add audio, HD video, or a search bar, you will need to upgrade to the PRO plan (currently $8.25 per month if you sign up a year at a time). And lets say that you need to charge sales tax on those products you want to sell or keep track of inventory or have more than 25 products; now you are required to upgrade to the BUSINESS account, currently $25 per month on the yearly rate.
Do you eventually want to add something more complicated like a customer relations manager or an event calender? For now you don’t have that option. After a couple years you may realize that you need to upgrade to something more extensible and at that point you are faced with a challenge of moving all of your site information to a new system.
One other possible consideration is that Weebly is a proprietary company. There is no guarantee that they won’t be bought out by a bigger company or go out of business and the “free” service may change or not remain free.
Why hire a designer?
Remember, you are doing all of this yourself without the help of a professional designer. Even as simple as Weebly is, there will be a learning curve if you have never worked with it before. Maybe you like what Weebly (or any of the other free site builders) has to offer, but as a business owner, your time is limited and valuable.
A look at WordPress
Most of the time when a new client comes to me to create a website for their business, I recommend going with self hosted WordPress as a content management system. On the surface WordPress looks more complicated and it is, but what that means is power and freedom.
First let me clarify the two kinds of WordPress. As with Weebly, WordPress has a free website version. If you go to www.WordPress.com you can sign up for a free account and have your site going in a very similar way to Weebly. In this article I am discussing the difference between Weebly and a custom designed website and the only way to have a truly customized site is to download the free software from www.WordPress.ORG and install it on a server which means you must pay for hosting. Starting here, having a professional web designer will very helpful. Choosing a quality hosting company as the foundation of your website can’t be overstated and a good designer should be able to guide you away from poor quality.
Here are a few fact about WordPress that really make it stand out:
- WordPress has a very large community of developers worldwide that are continually working to improve and secure the system and add new features
- Over 2,600 free and premium themes to choose form ranging from basic development platforms to fully designed layouts with a wide range of customizable options
- Over 32,000 plugins for every possible need; most of them free
- Over 22% of all websites in the world are built with WordPress
- WordPress is easily installed on most major hosting companies, often with a single click
- There is an easy to use admin area where editing pages and other content can be handled by most anyone
- With the right plugins, SEO is a breeze
With this in mind, the sky is the limit on what is possible. It is easily something that can start small and grow into something huge.
The down side
WordPress is simple enough that with a little skill most business owners can get it started on their own. This is where trouble can start. Many times I will have a client come to me and say they have a WordPress site they set up but they just can’t make it work right or it just doesn’t look professional. Many of the themes that are available have their own limitations and without planning ahead you can paint your self into a corner.
Not all plugins are created equal either. With that large number of plugins to choose from, there is a lure to use every one you find. Again having a plan and an understanding of how plugins work and how they might conflict with each other is extremely helpful.
Although there are a couple plugins that offer drag and drop site building capabilities, this is not a native WordPress feature. Creating a custom look for your site generally requires knowledge of HTML and CSS.
Hiring a website designer and graphic designer should be considered an investment, therefore take an honest look at your marketing budget. A custom website built on a solid platform can be the difference between looking like an amateur and being a truly competitive professional company. With the right plan and the right tools, your website could be the difference that brings you success.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope that you have found the information useful. If you have questions or comments, please add to the discussion below.
Page speed can be heavily effected by the size of images that you use in your WordPress blog. In this tutorial I will:
- Show you how to edit a large image to a smaller size using both the GIMP editing software and using image editor in WordPress.
There are a lot of image editing programs out there and I know that everyone has their favorite. Changing the size of an image is an easy task and can be done by even the simplest image program including some very good online sites. Please see the end of this article for a list of resources.
As a Linux desktop user, I am very fond of using “The GIMP” for all kinds of image manipulation, and for batch image resizing I often will use Gwenview or Phatch. There are versions of GIMP for Windows and Mac and installing is simple. Phatch is also available for windows and Mac, but there are many resources. Check here for a list or just use Google.
Re-size using GIMP
Load the image into GIMP by going to ‘File’ in the top menu and clicking ‘open’. Navigate to the image you want to open. As you can see in this example, the image I am loading is 4500 x 3000 px making it over 1.8 MB in download size. Not only will this take a long time to upload into your media file, if you use the full size it will be too big for your page.
The first thing you will need to do is decide what a good full size should be. I would go no larger than 900 px wide but usually 600 px will work. In this case I will use 600px.
In the top menu, go to Image and click on ‘Scale Image’. In the new window that opens you can adjust the image size and the resolution. Make sure that the chain link is connected so that the image scales proportionally and then type 600 in the width field. The height should change accordingly. An image displayed on a screen does not need more resolution than 72 pixels per inch. Make sure both x and y resolution fields are changed then click ‘Scale’.
Remember to save the file with a unique file name.
Loading to your WordPress Blog
By clicking the ‘Add Media’ button while you are writing a blog post, you will bring up a window called ‘Insert Media’. Click on ‘Upload Files’ and browse to the newly re-sized image. Here be sure to give the image a good title and alt text to help the search engines categorize it. Depending on your theme, giving it caption text may create a border around the image and the caption. You can choose to align the image to the right or left, choose where it links to and finally what size to display the image.
When you load an image using the media center, WordPress actually creates two extra files for each image that you load. a thumbnail and a medium sized image. These sizes are set in the media tab in your left side bar. Changing the settings here will not effect images that are already loaded, just new images. This is a nice feature in that if you choose medium, your blog images will all be similar in size. Thumbnails will be used for featured images and category pages.
Now when you click ‘Insert to post’ the image will be an optimized size. If you have chosen to have the image link to the media file or attachment page, it will link to the full size image that you created.
Editing within WordPress
WordPress does have an image editor within the Media Center and it can be useful in a pinch. One word of caution though. Using this editor in WordPress versions prior to 3.9 will not alter the thumbnail or the medium size images, only the main image. If you load a picture that is on its side and use the image editor to rotate it, the thumbnail will still be sideways. Version 3.9 has solved this and this instruction assumes that you are using WordPress 3.9.
Click on the image in your blog post visual window that you want to edit. Click on the pencil icon to edit the image. Now click on ‘Edit Original’ to get to the screen to the right. From here you can change the size as well as crop and rotate.
A few online editors that may be helpful:
Did I miss anything?
Thank you for reading this short tutorial. Is there anything I left out? What is your favorite image editor? Please comment below with your thoughts. I will respond to your questions.
In order to turn off comments: Log in, go to that page and click edit (or find the page in the dashboard), find the box called “discussion” and un-check both check boxes. If you can’t find that box, look up at the top and click on “Screen Options” and make sure everything is checked. See below:
Also, under Settings>Discussion you can have the comments for posts turn off after a certain number of days, which can come in handy if you forget to go back and turn them off after the initial surge of visitors has ended.
I hope these WordPress tips has helped you. Please let me know what you think in the comment section below.