WordPress Templates Not Showing Up?

I love WordPress.  I use it for my own site and I offer it to all of my clients.  I came across a problem today that I never encountered before.  When I was editing a page, I went to change the template it was using and…..

it wasn’t there.

As a matter of fact, no templates were showing.

How I fixed it:

Here’s the quick fix for all you WordPress buffs out there.

1. Activate a different theme.

2. Change it back to the theme you were working on.

3.  Now you can change your template.

Have another quick fix for a WordPress problem?  Feel free to leave a comment and link back to your own site!  Spam comments will not be accepted, but helpful hints will!

Pros and Cons of Flash-based Sites

Flash-based sites have been a craze since the past few years, and as Macromedia compiles more and more great features into Flash, we can only predict there will be more and more flash sites around the Internet. However, Flash based sites have been disputed to be bloated and unnecessary. Where exactly do we draw the line? Here’s a simple breakdown.

The good:

Interactivity

Flash’s Actionscript opens up a vast field of possibilities. Programmers and designers have used Flash to create interactve features ranging from very lively feedback forms to attractive Flash-based games. This whole new level of interactivity will always leave visitors coming back for more.

A standardized site

With Flash, you do not have to worry about cross-browser compatibility. No more woes over how a certain css code displays differently in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. When you position your site elements in Flash, they will always appear as they are as long as the user has Flash Player installed.

Better expression through animation

In Flash, one can make use of its animating features to convey a message in a much more efficient and effective way. Flash is a lightweight option for animation because it is vector based (and hence smaller file sizes) as opposed to real “movie files” that are raster based and hence much larger in size.

The bad and the ugly:

The Flash player

People have to download the Flash player in advance before they can view Flash movies, so by using Flash your visitor range will decrease considerably because not everyone will be willing to download the Flash player just to view your site. You’ll also have to put in additional work in redirecting the user to the Flash download page if he or she doesn’t have the player installed.

Site optimization

If your content was presented in Flash, most search engines wouldn’t be able to index your content. Hence, you will not be able to rank well in search engines and there will be less traffic heading to your site.

Loading time

Users have to wait longer than usual to load Flash content compared to regular text and images, and some visitors might just lose their patience and click the Back button. The longer your Flash takes to load, the more you risk losing visitors.

The best way to go is to use Flash only when you absolutely need the interactivity and motion that comes with it. Otherwise, use a mixture of Flash and HTML or use pure text if your site is purely to present simple textual and graphical information.

Mobile Websites Stink!

That’s right.. most websites I’ve visited from my mobile phone were horrible to read, horrible to navigate.. just.. plain.. stinky!

It’s time that changes.  A partner of mine has founded Conquer Marketing, Conquer Marketing is setting out to change the way we do business online, by taking our websites and our marketing efforts mobile!  To start with, we’ll be changing the sad fact that usability of most websites on mobile phones is pretty pathetic… near impossible in some cases.  We want to change that!

How does your website stack up?  Try accessing it with your mobile phone.  Time for an update?  Check out Conquer Marketing!

Why Hire A Designer?

A lot of business owners start with little or no money. They have to do everything themselves — product development, coming up with a marketing strategy, building of a website to help market their products or services. As their business grows, they will find that a simple “homemade” site might not be enough to meet their needs, and they will have to set aside time to revisit their web strategy and expand their site.

Sounds familiar? Chances are, you’re someone who started your business from the ground up too, so you’re pretty hesitant when it comes to spending your money for something you could probably do yourself. However, there is a lot more benefit to hiring a professional designer than just handling a job that you don’t have time to do.

When you hire a web designer to do your job for you, you are doing more than just handing over the work to someone else. In fact, by paying just a little money, you can let the designer worry about the little annoyances that always evade the main picture and only come haunting when you’re halfway through the job. Hiring a web designer will allow you to be more focused and have more time to spend on your actual business strategy.

On the other hand, the designers you hire are professionals so they are good at what they do. By outsourcing your web design jobs to them, you won’t have to worry when problems surface because you can always get them to fix it for you. Again, they will be able to pin point the problem and fix it faster than you probably will be able to.

Also, the work you pay for will turn out more professional than what you can achieve because the designers have been doing it longer than you have. After all, they do it for a living so they have to be good!

So, remember to not just work your business, but grow your business too!

5 Web Design Rules You Can’t Ignore

Web design is more than a pretty package in which to write your words.  There are many small details that can make or break your website.  Here are five simple rules that will boost your website’s performance and have visitors coming back for more.

1) Splash pages are a great way to get people to click “back.”

When a person arrives at your website, they want to see information.  They don’t want to see a pretty image where they have to click again just to enter the site.  Splash pages might look pretty, but they serve no real purpose other than to annoy your visitors.

2) Flashy banner ads are a thing of the past

Even those who don’t use the net much have learned to ignore banner ads.  Occasionally, a strategically placed banner will draw someone in, but too many are more likely to scare them away.  Don’t waste this valuable space.  Use it instead to offer your visitors a reason to stay longer or buy from you!  Don’t try to push them with loud flashy banners.

3) Navigation should be clear and simple

Don’t make it too hard for your visitors to find what they are looking for.  Reduce the number of clicks needed to get what they want.  Don’t make them hunt for something by hiding it four levels down inside your website.  People want information now!  They don’t want to have to hunt for it.

4) Label each page clearly

Visitors will want to know where they are as they’re browsing your website.  You don’t want to confuse them with disorganization and no labels.  A confused visitor is one who is more likely to quit reading and go somewhere else for their information.

5) Say NO to audio on your website

If you want your visitors to stay at your site for a long time, you don’t want to annoy them with looping audio.  You want them to be reading your content, not clicking the back button.  If you really want to use audio, make sure your visitors can control it – muting or volume controls should be sufficient.  You don’t want anyone to blame YOU for getting them in trouble for browsing the internet at work!

Free website hosting

Mariposa Web Design in offering free hosting for one year with the purchase of any new website design.  Hosting is a sometimes forgotten expense when trying to get your business on the web.  A hosting account is like virtual real estate.  It’s a piece of property that you rent where you can place your website for people to see.  Without hosting, there is no way for people to find your website.

There are so many hosting companies available, that choosing one can be a confusing and daunting task.  Mariposa Web Design makes it easy by offering free website hosting for the first year for customers buying a regularly priced design package.  That’s a savings of $47.88!

Getting a new website doesn’t need to be complicated.  Contact me to find out more about what I can do for you and your business.

Why WordPress?

I love working with wordpress.  It’s more than just blogging software.  WordPress is a content management system that gives my clients the freedom to edit their site’s content without having to know anything about web design.

Now, why would I recommend a system that lets my customers do things on their own rather than force them to call me every time they want to change their website’s content?  Because my clients appreciate the ability to make these quick changes on their own.  Speed is often crucial when it comes to getting information out to customers.  WordPress allows people to make changes immediately.

Have important news about your company? Post it to your site’s new section in just minutes. 

Want to add a new page?  Simple!  Just click the “Pages” link in your WordPress control panel.

Want to delete a page?  You can do that in just a few mouse clicks.

I can customize virtually any HTML website to work with a WordPress Content Management System. 

Have a site that you want to customize?  Send me the link to your site and details about what you are trying to do and I’ll gladly take a look at your project and let you know what it will take to move your site into WordPress.

Why do I offer my services so cheap?

I’m running a small business with a very small budget.  As a small business owner, I understand the benefits of using the internet to attract new customers. 

Maintaining a website can be a very inexpensive marketing tool.  Hosting is relatively cheap and is available for most uses for less than $10 a month.  A domain can be purchased for less than $10 per year! 

The challenge is getting your site built.  If you know anything about web design, or have access to a website builder, you can do this yourself.  But to do so requires time.. which is something not all business owners have.  Even if they have the time, they don’t always have the ability to do a professional looking job.  That’s where web designers come in.  But if you do a quick search for web designers, you’ll see that some can be quite expensive! 

I am offering web design services to small businesses at a fairly low cost because I know how hard it is to try to move forward when times get tough.  For just $150, I can design a basic site for your business.  Updates to your site are available at a low hourly rate, and I am always available to get my customers what they need.

If you are more of a do-it-yourself business person, I can build your site using WordPress.  The wordpress content management system is perfect for those who intend to expand their site as time goes on or for those who want to change the content on their site frequently.  WordPress makes it easy!  And you don’t have to know a think about HTML!  I offer this service for a flat price of $250.00. 

WordPress isn’t just for bloggers.  While blogs are great for getting your site to rank higher in search engines, WordPress works very will with any informational website.  Being able to write a blog or news section will only work to your advantage!

Do you need a website for your small business?  Contact me today for more information!

How does the healthcare bill affect you?

I am hoping for the best, though I admit I’m scared to death of being forced to buy health insurance. Sure, I would love to have good health insurance and I do shell out some of my hard earned dough for the smallest bit of coverage I could get. But I always knew that if times got tough (tougher than they already are) I could drop that policy and have a little extra breathing room in my budget.

From what I know of the new healthcare bill, that breathing room is about to vanish.

I’m a small business owner. So small that I can be thankful that I don’t have employees that I will have to cover. Instead, I only need worry about myself. But as a small business owner, I know how tight budgets can be. That’s why I offer my own services at very affordable prices. If you have a small business and have been considering getting a website, you may have been shocked to see how expensive hiring a designer can be.

My job is to make that a little less painful. I do simple, attractive websites that are built to attract new visitors to your business. I highly recommend building your site using WordPress. WordPress allows you the ability to continuously add content to your site. The more quality content you have, the more people will find your site.

More visitors means more business. And in this economy of falling income and rising expenses, more business is good. If you want to talk to me more about how I can build you a site in wordpress and how wordpress can help you, use my contact form to send me an email!

Web Hosting Reviews

Finding the right web hosting service provider for you can be overwhelming and frustrating. Maybe you’re not sure how much space and bandwidth you need. Maybe you don’t even know what bandwidth is! I am here to help by reviewing some of the service providers I have used for the past few years.

Host Gator

Host Gator - Host unlimited websites Host Gator is my current hosting provider for all of my sites. The unlimited websites option is what attracted me.

Their regular hosting plans start at $4.95 per month for one domain. You can bump that up easily to unlimited domains for only $7.95 per month. Still a reasonable price for a valuable service.

The business account starts at $12.95 per month. Host Gator offers a number of extra perks for their business customers: Free SSL certificate on the primary domain. Also you can get a free toll free number for your business.

Reliability has been very good. I have not had any experience with customer service yet. I will soon when I install the SSL on my domain. I’ll post an update on customer service when I can!

My only complaint is I wish I could put the free SSL certificate on a different domain. I don’t need it on my primary domain. I can still get one, but I have to pay for it.

Host Nine

I first learned about Host Nine through my employer at my part time job. The experience I have with Host Nine is with their reseller account.

The reseller account is an excellent program where for a very reasonable monthly fee, you can sell hosting accounts under your own name. The profits are yours to keep. Host Nine is not only a reliable host, they also offer one of the best reseller plans.

They’re offering an unlimited hosting plan for $6.95 a month. There is no contract to sign. You can host unlimited domains and have unlimited bandwidth and storage.

Up time has been 100% since we joined Host Nine. Customer service is fairly prompt by email or phone.

My only complaint with Host Nine is the occasional technical glitch when I create more than one new account at a time. The positive in this is customer service takes care of it right away for me.

With the reseller plan, since it’s shared hosting, there are times when I can’t create an account in a certain area because that location is full. I’m forced to create it on a server elsewhere. That’s only a slight inconvenience as long as the customer doesn’t care whether his site is hosted in New York or Texas.

Godaddy.com

GoDaddy.com $7.49 .com Sale 120x90My first hosting provider was Godaddy. Godaddy.com is a great place to start for several reasons:

 

  • They are affordable.
  • Set-up is easy.
  • Customer service is fast and effective.
  • They offer a variety of service levels to fit your needs.

Here is some basic information regarding the hosting packages they offer:

Website hosting:
As low as $4.24 per month. There is no setup fee. They offer 24/7 support. You can purchase plans with up to unlimited storage and bandwidth.

Virtual Dedicated Servers:
With a virtual dedicated server, you have full control over your server space. Up to 50GB in storage and 2000GB in bandwidth.

Prices for virtual dedicated servers start at $23.99 a month.

Dedicated Servers:
With a dedicated server, you can customize and configure your own server. A dedicated server is great for high traffic applications like gaming and multimedia websites.

Prices for dedicated servers start at $63.99 a month.

Click for more info on any of these packages.

My experience with them was a mostly positive one. While I have been testing the waters with other hosting providers, I still use Godaddy as my primary registrar.

My only complaints with Godaddy are what I think are overly aggressive sales tactics and the customer service number is not toll free. Since I use my cell phone for calls anyway, toll free doesn’t really matter to me.

More recently, I’ve seen issues with running scripts. Not all of their hosting plans allow scripts, which severely limits what I can do with a website. I’m not familiar with their higher level plans to know if and when scripts become available. This is a definite drawback to their service, especially when I can run scripts with other hosting companies for the same low prices.