TRG Web Designs LLC https://trgwebdesigns.com Websites That Engage Sat, 22 Apr 2017 04:59:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i1.wp.com/trgwebdesigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/cropped-logo.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 TRG Web Designs LLC https://trgwebdesigns.com 32 32 90006029 Why We Recommend “No Sliders” for Client Websites https://trgwebdesigns.com/recommend-no-sliders-client-websites/ https://trgwebdesigns.com/recommend-no-sliders-client-websites/#respond Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:00:50 +0000 https://trgwebdesigns.com/?p=27413

We strongly recommend "no sliders" to our clients in our website design projects. Our recommendation isn't a matter of personal preference. It's based on studies of user behavior and real world results.

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We strongly recommend “no sliders” to our clients in our website design projects. Clients are often surprised by this recommendation. Often they regard sliders (also known as carousels) as best practice based their wide adoption on competitor websites.

Our recommendation isn’t a matter of personal preference. Initially we were enamored by animation of slides with attractive pictures and brief messages. A few years back, we proudly used them on websites.

What changed?

Personal Frustration with Sliders

As sliders became prevalent, I began to find sliders annoying. Like most people, when I arrive on a website page, I make a decision within seconds to take one of three actions:

  1. Read information I expected to find there.
  2. Click on something (to take me to where I can find the information I’m seeking).
  3. Leave.

Most sliders scroll automatically every 3 to 5 seconds. At faster speeds, the slide disappears before visitors absorb the content. Any longer and the pace seems agonizingly slow.

Occasionally, I would arrive on a website and find the first slide discussed the information I sought, but it scrolled away before I could click on it. And if the first slide didn’t discuss the information  needed, I usually departed before seeing the second slide.

In most cases, the sliders had nothing to do with the information I sought. Often, they inhibited my effort to find what I was seeking.

However, at this point, I still thought they were cool and continued to recommend and deploy them.

User Interaction Studies

Slowly, reports began to trickle in that major commercial websites found that sliders hurt conversions and sales. Serious studies of website visitor behavior soon followed. Some of the findings:

Summary

The reasons that we recommend against using sliders on websites are:

  • Any calls to actions on the slides are ineffective.
  • Sliders are bad for SEO.
  • Many visitors find them annoying.

With that said, we still have clients who want sliders on their websites. So occasionally, you will find sliders on our clients’ sites.

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The Long Journey to a New Logo https://trgwebdesigns.com/long-journey-new-logo/ Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:58:28 +0000 https://trgwebdesigns.com/?p=27303

Our process for designing new logos often finds quick success, However, one of our projects became a long journey, with some lessons learned on the way.

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Designing a new logo for a client is an exciting experience. After all, the logo will become the symbol that represents their business. For our clients, who are small business owners, their business is an extension of themselves. So it’s personal. Sometimes, the process is quick. Other times, it’s a long journey. This is about the longer type.

 

Background

 

In the process of designing a new website for Hunter’s Honey Farm, I requested a higher quality image of their logo. They were unable to locate one. The small image used on the old website just would not work on the site I was developing, so I offered to create a new logo for them.

Hunter’s Honey Farm’s Old Logo

 

 Hunter’s Honey Farm’s original logo was rather simple, consisting of business name in a vintage script font with a single honeycomb cell surrounding the first letter.

Hunter's Honey Farms Old Logo

New Logo – First Attempt

My original thought was to simply create a logo like the old one. I searched for the font and came up empty. So, I created several versions similar to their existing logo using different fonts. This was the best of the group.

Hunter's Honey Farm - New Logo

Getting Creative

Frustrated with the results, I decided to get creative. I thought a round logo might look better, so I experimented. Ultimately, I got a version I really liked. It had white, gold and black as the primary colors.

However, Hunter’s colors were blue and yellow. I created another version with the background blue and the border yellow.

Then I recalled someone mentioning that the owner, Tracy Hunter, liked yellow, but did not like gold. So I changed the honeycombs and bee to yellow.

Finally, I wrapped up by creating a completely different logo that shaped like a like a honeycomb cell.

Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept

I all sent these off to owner, Tracy Hunter, and his staff for review.

New Logo – Round Two

Usually clients respond quickly, noting what they like or don’t like — and from there we start down a path that leads to final version. But all I got were comments along lines of “nice” and an invitation to send more.

I took that to mean that none of the options really felt right to them. I worked up some new ideas and forwarded them to Tracy and his team.

Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept

Silence.

That’s never good a good sign. But when I followed up, Tracy Hunter sounded appreciative of the effort and said he liked many of the versions. I invited him to select one or two and to be specific about what he liked and didn’t like.

Finally Some Useful Feedback

 It took a while before he responded. But when he did reply, he sent an email that said this:

Let’s try tweaking the one listed below.
Modifications:
1. Block font – we have a concern that younger generations can not read script.
2. Exchange the comb for this bee (or close to it)
bee image
3.  Wrap “Beekeepers Since 1910” above and below bee.

 

Hunter's Honey Farm Success Story

Our Success Stories article on the Hunter’s Honey Farm Project describes the other work we performed for them, which includes:

  • Designing a new e-commerce website
  • Moving the website to a new host
  • Adding custom features:
    • Events
    • Recipes
    • Tours of the Honey Farm
  • Implementing advanced website traffic analytics

Eureka! What he said was that he didn’t like the graphics or the font, which meant he didn’t like anything, but at least we had a specific direction to pursue.

New Logo – Home Stretch

The bee worried me. I was concerned that it might be copyrighted and we might have to either purchase rights for commercial use, which could be expensive, or create something similar from scratch, which would be time-consuming. However, thanks to Google, I traced the image back to a page on a website named Antique Images. The page said the images were scanned from an vintage natural history book and could be used royalty free.

I couldn’t see just having the bee on the left side of the logo. I thought it needed to be inside some kind of badge or emblem. So I created this.

Bee Emblem Concept

Next, I paired the emblem with the business name in a bunch of different fonts, which I sent to the Hunter’s Honey Farm team for comment.

Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept
Hunter's Honey Farm - Logo Concept

The folks at Hunter’s really liked the Bee Emblem. They also liked the font with the distressed big block letters (in the middle of the group above).

New Logo – Final Version

From there the route to the finished products required a only a couple of minor revisions.

Full Logo

We ultimately decided on two variations. The logo used in most places would have the emblem on the left and the business name on the right.

Logo Emblem

We also created a standalone emblem containing the business name for use in places where there isn’t room for the full logo.

Hunter's Honey Farms Emblem - Final Version

Summary

The positive feedback from the folks at Hunter’s Honey Farm made the work worthwhile. The long journey to the new logo could have been shortened considerably if I had taken more time to understand my client and his preferences before I started the creative process.

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New Security Vulnerability – PHPMailer https://trgwebdesigns.com/new-security-vulnerability-phpmailer/ Tue, 27 Dec 2016 16:53:24 +0000 https://trgwebdesigns.com/?p=26782

A security vulnerability has been identified in PHPMailer, a mail application incorporated into WordPress. Here is what we recommend for website owners.

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On Christmas Day, Polish security researcher Dawid Golunski announced that he had uncovered a security vulnerability in PHPMailer, which is an open source mail application incorporated into WordPress, Drupal, Sugar CRM and numerous other website development platforms.

Details

The vulnerability permits remote code execution (RCE), which is the worst-type of security flaw. RCE vulnerabilities permit a hacker to directly pass instructions to the server for immediate execution. In other words, they can take control of a website’s server without even logging in.

Needless to say, this announcement has generated a lot of concern among website owners. I want to assure our clients that we are monitoring the situation.

To date, there are no known cases where hackers have successfully exploited the vulnerability. The developers of PHPMailer have already released a patch. The WordPress Core team is working to incorporate this patch. We expect them to publish a security update to WordPress shortly.

Protection for Our Clients

Clients who are members of our Website Maintenance and Security Program have several levels of protection:

  • The firewall we have installed on your website will be updated by WordFence in real-time as soon as any exploits as discovered.
  • We have configured your website to automatically apply new security updates to the WordPress core as soon as they are released.
  • Afterwards, we will verify that your website was properly updated and that your website is functioning properly.
  • And, as we always do, we will ensure that security updates to all themes and plugins on your website are promptly applied.

Recommended Actions for Others

For non-members, we encourage you to install the free version of WordFence. While this is a great tool, please be aware that there is a one-month delay between the implementation of new firewall rules, meaning that for the first 30 days, your website is vulnerable.

In addition , we encourage you to be vigilant in preforming regular backups of your website and storing them offsite (somewhere other than your server). This way, if you do get hacked, you can quickly recover your website by restoring a recent backup.

Also, be sure to apply updates to WordPress core, all themes and plugins as soon as they are released. Remember, it’s wise to perform a backup immediately prior to implementing updates, just in in case something goes wrong. After all, while it is rare, updates to themes or plugins have been known to break websites.

Of course, you could simply join our Website Maintenance and Security Program, which lets you focus your time and energy on running your business while having confidence that we are doing all of these things for you.

If you are interested in joining, please contact us,

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One Year Anniversary https://trgwebdesigns.com/one-year-anniversary/ Tue, 22 Nov 2016 23:09:16 +0000 https://trgwebdesigns.com/?p=26587

We opened our doors for business in one year ago. We weren't sure what to expect, but the results exceeded our best dreams. We want to thank our clients.

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We opened our doors for business in the middle of last November with hopes of helping local businesses and professionals more effectively reach customers and prospects through their websites. We weren’t sure what to expect, but the results exceeded our best dreams.

We want to take time to thank our clients for giving us the opportunity to serve them and recognize them individually.

Thanks again to all of these wonderful people for making our first year a success.

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Customer Testimonial Video https://trgwebdesigns.com/customer-testimonial-video/ Mon, 14 Mar 2016 15:34:05 +0000 https://trgwebdesigns.com/?p=1180 A short video displaying quotes from recent clients.

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This short video displays testimonials from recent customers. Featured are:

  • Eric Nickless, Owner of Patriot Arms Gun Shop
  • Andrea Stewart, Owner of Andrea Stewart Designs
  • Melanie Conley, Owner of Melanie Conley Music Studio
  • Kent Allison and Scott Tyler, Co-owners of Growl Wear and also Two Bears Honey Farms.

 

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Showcase Video https://trgwebdesigns.com/showcase-video/ Tue, 08 Mar 2016 14:07:32 +0000 https://trgwebdesigns.com/?p=1137 We put together a short video to showcase some of our recent work.

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We put together a short video to showcase some of our recent work.

We want to thank all of our clients who have trusted us with their business.

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Website Hacking Attack In Progress – What We Are Doing for Our Customers https://trgwebdesigns.com/website-hacking-attack-in-progress-what-we-are-doing-for-our-customers/ Tue, 16 Feb 2016 17:47:10 +0000 http://trgwebdesigns.com/?p=739

Website security experts report a massive attempt to hack website administrative passwords is underway. Here is what we are doing to protect our clients.

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Website security company WordFence reports a massive attempt to hack website administrative passwords is underway. They report: 

During this time we saw a total of 6,611,909 attacks targeting 72,532 individual websites. We saw attacks during this time from 8,941 unique IP addresses and the average number of attacks per victim website was 6.26.

At TRG Web Designs, we are working with all of our customers to implement steps to ensure their websites are protected against this attack. Our steps include:

  • Notifying each of them of this website security threat.
  • Ensuring they are employing strong passwords on all administrative accounts.
  • Reducing the number of failed login attempts from an IP address before blacklisting it
  • Upgrading all plugins and themes to the latest versions.
  • Actively monitoring all administrative logins to their sites.

If you are not an existing client with TRG Web Designs but would like to join our website monitoring service, please contact us for a quote.

 

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