The Silver Maple Web Advantage

Do you want your website built with WordPress so that you can easily update it yourself in the future? WordPress is a good content management system, but there can be issues with using plug-ins as part of the development.

  1. Plug-ins are often developed by students or developers who are creating them on a part-time basis – if they stop updating and maintaining them for any reason, the plug-ins may stop working when WordPress is updated, which could render parts of your website inoperable – and the original developer may no longer be available.

  2. Plug-ins are often generic – they may achieve PART of what you want to achieve but not quite everything.

  3. Most free plug-ins are like samples, to get full functionality you may have to spend more money for a “full-version”. You may also be required to pay a yearly fee for updates.

 So how is Silver Maple Web different

Unlike many “web developers” in the market, I am an experienced programmer.

What does this mean?

  • I can customize plug-ins to get the exact functionality you need to achieve the result you want.  I can also fix a plugin that stops working after a WordPress upgrade.

  • In many cases what some plug-ins do can be done with a few lines of code built into the CSS or PHP of your theme.

  • I have experience writing WordPress plugins. Chances are if you need a specific functionality, others probably do as well. I can write a custom plug-in for you. If it’s something that other web site owners will benefit from, the cost to you will be minimal as it will be a plugin that I can share with others in the WordPress plug-in repository.

  • I write themes, I don’t just modify an off the shelf theme or add a child theme.  I can build a theme to your exact specification.

 So when you are looking for the right person to develop your website, show them the information above – ask them if they have the Silver Maple Web advantage. Do you want a website that “sort of does what you want” or does “exactly what you want”.

Ask prospective developers how they will handle the challenge of getting you back on-line if one crucial plug-in fails after a WordPress update and the original developer has moved on.

 You are going to be in business for a long time – make sure your website has the staying power you need.

 

Is your website development like making sausage?

Like sausage, do you want people to watch your website being made?

is your website development like making sausageHow would you feel if a guest came to your barbecue and said they’d bring the hot dogs or sausage? Pretty good right? Okay, if said guest arrived with all of the materials to make the sausage and meat grinder and proceeded to make the sausages in front of you and the rest of your guests how would you feel? Not so good, right?

Yet, many people let “developers” build their content management website live, on-line where potential clients can see the website in progress. They may see a coming soon message on the front page, links that don’t go to anything, links to pages that have “lorem ipsum” content. It’s kind of like watching sausage being made.

There are some things that people shouldn’t see being made – sausage, cat food, canned chicken, fish processing – and your website is one of those things.

It isn’t the most professional form of website development.

Professional website development involves:

  1. your developer building your site first on their computer,
  2. moving it to a private “staging area” that only you and your developer have access to for review, tweaking and approval and then,
  3. taking it live on the server at your web hosting service where it is now visible to search engines and the world.

It’s kind of like your guest bringing the sausages ready-to-cook and throwing them on the barbie where you and your guests can savour the scent and hear the sizzle of the cooking sausages just before you enjoy them.

Silver Maple Web promises you professional website development. No one is going to see your website until you feel that it is ready for your customers and potential customers to view. And we think that’s a pretty tasty prospect.

Simple Matted Thumbnails Plugin

We have released a new plugin, Simple Matted Thumbnails. This provides a new format for thumbnails in addition to the two that come with WordPress.

Thumbnail Formats

Proportional

This is the default.  The image is resized to fit in the box, the resulting thumbnails will vary on size if images with different aspect ratios are used.
proportional

Cropped

This is a choice available from the media settings for the thumbnails and in the settings of many e-commerce plugins.  The image is cropped to the exact size requested, care must be taken in preparing images to avoid losing important content.
cropped

Matted

This is the new format provided by this plugin.  The image is resized proportionally to fit in the box and then matted out to the size requested for the thumbnail.  The mat is similar to those used to frame photographs and watercolours.  This plugin lets you choose the colour of the mat and add extra matting around the thumbnail image.
matted

Matted with extra matting

This adds a percentage of background colour around the image. extra

Where to Get The Plugin

The plugin is available from the WordPress Plugin Repository at http://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-matted-thumbnails/ and using the Plugins menu in the WordPress admin.  Please let me know of any issues using this plugin and any enhancements that you would like to see.

CSS 102

A CSS introduction for designers – part 2

This is the second in a series of short CSS courses for designers and other non-programmers.  These are presented as part of the GTA Mac Users Group. The classes consist of a handout, presentation, demo and questions and answers. These classes are directed toward designers who may need to use CSS occasionally and to those who wish to get started with CSS, no programming experience is required. Continue reading

Moving to Twenty Twelve

If you are a regular visitor to this site you will see a huge change today. I’ve just enabled the Twenty Twelve theme.  It sure is plain, but it is responsive out of the box.  In the next week or so I will be creating a child theme of Twenty Twelve to replace the Toolbox based child theme that this site used until now.  All the content is still here, but the navigation is no longer drop downs.

The new child theme will include some more styling and better navigation.  I’ll post here as I make progress.  For an example of our theme work you should visit our web design site Silver Maple Web.

When considering SEO, don’t forget HEO

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, the process involved in ensuring your website is found by search engines. It involves the wording used in titles and other content both on the front end, the part seen by viewers and the meta data which the search engines also view. Many people think that they need to repeat their important search term or keyword over and over again to the point the human reader just gets annoyed. Continue reading

When you only need a small amount of website work done

At Silver Maple Web we can take care of all websites, big or small.

Ever seen an ad for a handyman or contractor that says, “no job too small” and when you call them they want to remodel your entire house? Yep, we’ve been there too.

The same thing happens in the web world. You’re happy with your website but you just need a small form added or you need a slight change made to the design of your website. Maybe you just want to have a custom WordPress theme designed and a one page about your company website with a blog page attached. Or you don’t even want a blog, just a virtual business card website. Continue reading

Professional WordPress Development Reduces Risk

Why Should I Care?

As a website owner you control how your site is developed.  Your choice is between quick, easy and risky or professional, reliable WordPress development.   You may not care much about the process your developer uses, all you want is that your site is built quickly, correctly and cheaply.  You’re sure the developer will get it right.  WordPress makes it easy for inexperienced developers to build beautiful sites with advanced functionality. Continue reading

Maple Blossom Time

The large Silver Maple in our backyard, this site’s namesake, is starting to bloom.

The last few days have been warmer than normal, as seen by the crocus on March 7. The trees are now reacting to that, so real spring can’t be far off. Here is a shot of the tips of the tree that appears on the header of the Silver Maple Web Contact Page. (Edit June 2013: the tree is no longer on the home page, although it did provide the leaf used in the logo.)

These blossoms aren’t large and showy, but they are a favourite food of squirrels, which are one of Bella’s favourite things, so she is definitely in favour of maple blossoms.