Google Chrome and the Not Secure Warning

Google rolled out version 62 of the Chrome browser last month and with it came the promised “Not Secure” warning on pages of websites that have input fields and are not protected by a SSL certificate. These fields can be as innocent as a comments box on a blog or a simple contact form.

The warning is not as “in your face” as many imagined, the “Not Secure” warning only appears in the address bar when a user starts to type in an input field. However it is the first step of Google Chromes bigger plan to discourage the use of HTTP and encourage all web sites to be protected with a SSL certificate and use HTTPS.

chrome ssl warning

Eventually Google Chrome will label all non HTTPS pages with a red NOT SECURE warning even if there are no input fields.

chrome ssl warning not secure

 

With Chrome now dominating the browser market with a 44% share, the implications of these warnings are obvious. The last thing you want is to scare any site visitors away by thinking your site is unsafe.The only solution to this problem is to install a SSL certificate and get the coveted green padlock and secure message in your browser window.

Need help getting a SSL certificate installed and configured for your web site? Gives us a call at 636.795 7988

google chrome secure message

 

Need Help with a Wix Website?

I market myself as “A Creative Partner for your Small Business” and if your small business website is built using Wix, I can help by making it not only look wonderful but perform seamlessly too.

The Wix platform offers a drag and drop interface and is described on their site as “easy for any person to create websites – no design skills needed”. While it certainly offers plenty of tools to make a site look pretty, you really do need an understanding of how best to present your content to engage your users and encourage them down certain paths. This is where tapping in on the experience of a professional web designer can help take your Wix website to the next level.

This was exactly what Malorie Blake,a registered dietitian based in York PA, was looking for her website Wholesome365.com

The re-working of her Wix site involved re branding with her new logo and complimentary color palette and font choices.

We also

  • Reorganized navigation for better content flow and usability and built out footer elements
  • Re-worked home page for improved information and call to action. e.g. Detailing major services and lead generation via a free phone consultation
  • Improved the design and added better call to action on inner pages of site e.g. Booking appointments or purchasing packages
  • Ensured design elements were consistent throughout site
  • Optimized pages and file names for SEO purposes

Here is the finished home page

wholesome nutrition wix website

 

Compared to where we started from

As you can see the site is now far more focused on the user and how they can be directed to specific areas easily without having to think. The eye is effortlessly drawn in to the Call to actions

If you need help with a Wix website I am here to help. Give me a call at 636 795 7988 or contact me via email

WordPress Template Customization for Labor Ad Network

I have been in business a long time and have built hundreds of websites. Websites come and go, they get redesigned or disappear altogether but a site I built for Labor Advertising Network in 2005 was still in use. As you can imagine it was looking rather dated and lacked modern day functionality.

I have kept in contact with the client and last month got a call from them saying they were ready to bring their website to present day standards but were on a very tight budget. They wanted it converted to a WordPress website so they would be able to edit it themselves and also ensure the new site offered mobile friendliness to their users.

Recognizing their budget considerations, the most cost effective approach for them was to use a ready made WordPress template.

After installing and configuring WordPress on their server I selected the Twenty Seventeen template to customize. It is a very clean template, lends itself to small uncomplicated sites and is of course, beautifully mobile friendly.

The Labor Advertising Network is a network is designed to help advertisers get their story across to the Labor community. This distribution network is conveyed in three custom designed graphics which feature in the huge banner area on the home page. Each banner features a different professional and they are randomized so a different one displays each time the home page is visited.

 

twenty seventeen larger banner

twenty seventeen larger banner

Here is the home page in action

labor ad network wordpress website

and the inner pages of the site were configured to display a custom header

abor ad network twenty seventeen

A few lines of custom CSS added a color to the navigation bar and footer.

It’s always fun to take a look back, here is the old static site.

labor ad network old site

Their new site certainly brings them up to date.

labor ad network wordpress websiteVisit LaborAdNetwork.com

Graphic Design for Battery Heated Clothing

Getting your message across and helping customers understand your product, can be a challenge particularly when you are marketing something unusual. I am currently working on an SEO project for OPERATIONHEATJAC and their product certainly falls into this unusual category. They have developed a novel “personal radiator” garment which was originally designed for medical staff to wear in freezing cold operating rooms but is a practical solution to staying warm in any cold situation.

To create product awareness the current marketing approach is to focus on all those cold situations where the product is useful – not just in the O.R.

For social media use (Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn) I have created a set of graphics which simply explains the product.
battery heated jacket

Revamp for Online Country Decor Store

Giving a website a facelift is quite possibly my favorite type of web design work. As much as I love designing websites from scratch, there is something very gratifying about taking something that is a little worn and faded and injecting some much needed love into it!

That is exactly what I have done with In the Barn Treasures, an online country decor eCommerce site. I mentioned them a few weeks ago, they are my first new local client since relocating to Lancaster PA.

Here is the home page of their new site

and before we dig into what I did lets take a quick look at the before

before in the barn treasures

Clearly there is a huge visual improvement but this project was not all about producing a better looking site.  We wanted to address a number of issue

Search Engine Optimization

We started with extensive of behind the scenes work addressing search engine optimization. The site is built on Volusion but was using none of it’s built in SEO tools. After a market analysis we pulled together a list of keywords and got to work enriching the site, renaming page file names, image names, and generally working in our key words wherever appropriate. Every single product in their catalog was optimized.

Visitor Engagement

Getting a user to do what you want them to do once they reach a site is a skill. First of all you need those few vital few seconds to convince them this is a site worth looking at, so a professional enticing look and feel is a must. Then “Call to Actions” come into play. We completely reworked the content of the home page, removing a slideshow that really achieved very little in terms of usability and replacing it with distinct call to actions which directs users to the newly reworked product categories

The objective here is to give a user quick visual prompts and not make them think too much!

We also added a featured product section which is dynamically driven.

We continued improving user engagement on the category homes.The original site had tiny photographs which hardly enticed the user to click further. There was also a “landscape/portrait” mismatch.

We gave each category a simple graphic banner, a title..great for SEO and a brief introductory paragraph. Then working from the original raw product photograph we adjusted them for better exposure, resized them so all the photographs were now identical in size, gave the each a keyword rich name and uploaded everything again. The result, a much more appealing category home page with photographs that are big enough to entice further clicks.

The product pages were also enhanced with much larger photos and keyword friendly descriptions of each piece.

in the barn treasures country decor product

Internet Marketing

Once the site was in ship shape condition from a usability and SEO standpoint it was time to re-launch it to the world. It has been submitted to all the big players (and lots of little players) in the search engine world and all the products uploaded to Google Shopping

We also created a number of social media profiles including Pinterest, Facebook, Scoop.it, Fancy, and  Wanelo

Check out the site at https://www.inthebarntreasures.com and browse through their catalog of wonderful country home decor products!

New website For Children’s Author

Launched today is a brand new website for children’s author Gary Scholar.

children's autor website

Gary has written a series of 39 children’s books – BAP Books – Believe Anything’s Possible. They address issues many kids struggle with such a bullying, illness and overcoming fear but also issues like losing a parent, adoption and foster care. All of his book are available through Amazon.

Gary first came across our web design services when we launched a website for a St Louis Children’s author in 2006. He kept our contact details on the back burner and touched base with us in the Fall last year. By that time we had relocated to Chicago which is where he is based. We had obviously made an impression for him to reach out after all those years!

The website we created for him is very colorful and designed to appeal to both children and adults alike. We categorized his books into 8 series and built the site around them

Built on the WordPress platform the website is mobile friendly and designed to easily accommodate further books.

Gary is thrilled with the site and this is what he had to say

“Zoe, thanks so much for being so professional, knowledgeable, creative and loving as you made my website come alive in such a wonderful creative way. You are an absolute joy to work with and I’m sure down the road I will be using your expertise again.”

New eCommerce Website: OperationHeatJac

One of the things I love about my job is learning about different industries and products. Over the years I have become acquainted with industrial washing machines, airplane parts and body wipes to name a few products and gained an insight into the world of interior design, senior living services and wholesale food. It is all fascinating.

This learning journey continued when I began work on a project for OperationHeatJac. They approached me last year looking to develop an eCommerce web site to sell their very novel product – a personal radiator to be worn by staff in the operating room. I had no idea the OR was such a cold room. While the surgeons like to have the room freezing to help them remain comfortable while under stress and beat the heat kicked out by the lights, other staff members can really suffer.

The product they developed is worn around the torso and acts as a personal warming device.

operationheatjac personal radiator

It can be powered in three different ways, by rechargeable batteries, a plug-in transformer or air activated warmers.

We kicked off the project with the creation of a logo for the company which I shared here and went on to develop a very clean look for the web site.

ecommerce web site

ecommerce web site

We provided everything to get this site up and running from domain name registration, hosting, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) integration, web design and development and internet marketing. We even helped the client solve their photography issues by suggesting they purchase a dress form to display their products during the photo shoot.

The site is built on the WordPress platform and uses WooCommerce to provide the eCommerce functionality. Visit it at https://www.operationheatjac.com/

A Lancaster Farmhouse Decor Company

I am delighted to have just secured my first local client, In the Barn Treasures, since relocating to the Lancaster PA area.

in the barn treasures lancaster country home decor

They offer a wonderful collection of rustic/farmhouse/primitive home decor pieces but need a little help getting their website performing well in the search engines and engaging their users. Helping small businesses succeed in this arena is a real passion of mine and I am really looking forward to working with them.

I connected with them in rather a non traditional way.

A few times a week I take a walk up the hill behind my house and after huffing and puffing up quite an incline I am greeted by a stunningly beautiful red barn. Of course I had to photograph it and it was one of the first beautiful photographs I featured in my new blog category  “The Eye of the Lancaster Web Designer“.

barn pa lancaster

While doing some internet marketing for Indigo Image, I noticed on Google maps the barn was flagged with a location marker. Intrigued I clicked on it and learned about In the Barn Treasures. Visiting their website I could see it needed a little help so I contacted the owners to introduce myself and also sent them the photo I had taken of their barn. It opened the door to a meeting …

The star mounted on the barn is know as a Barnstar and decorations of this kind are considered good luck. Certainly good luck for the Lancaster Pa Web Designer!