Website Alerts and How We Do Them

WordPress

You’re not going to guess what the Web Services Team did a lot of this week.  Maybe you are.  This past week we published a bunch of alerts on credit union websites about this virus thing everyone is talking about.  A people virus, not a computer virus.

Luckily, CU*Answers Web Services was prepared for this.  We’ve published special alerts on credit union websites before for things like weather related closings, power outages or telephone troubles at branches.  If your credit union website is on our WordPress with SiteControl platform, we have the ability to turn on Notifications Bars.

ChiPhone website screenshot with Notification BarNotification Bars appear at the very top of your website to highlight an important notice for your members.  These notification bars are highly customizable and mobile responsive.  Here’s a screenshot of a site with a live notification bar enabled:

If you have a need for an alert to your members on your site — and who doesn’t this week? — let us know.  We can enable this feature and the content is manageable in your WordPress dashboard.  Also we’re happy to add the content for you, just let us know what you would like it to read.

WordPress 5.4 Update Coming End of This Month

WordPress

I’m sure you are not all tracking the development life cycle of WordPress, luckily you have CU*Answers Web Services who is.

The next update to WordPress is currently being beta tested and is expected to roll out at the end of March.  Our CU*Answers Web Services hosting infrastructure will begin deploying this update as it becomes available.  These automatic deployments and updates help keep your website secure from the ne’er-do-wells who out and about probing at websites for vulnerabilities.

We do not anticipate any problems with this WordPress update.  The focus is on continuing to update the Gutenberg Block editor.  This is a new way to edit your website content.  CU*Answers Web Services has been trying this new editor on some new site builds as well as some internal sites.

Read more about what is coming up in WordPress 5.4 in this WPTavern Article.

New Microsoft Edge Update

Microsoft Edge

Web Browser are constantly changing and last week we had a big change from Microsoft. The new version of Microsoft Edge uses the same rendering engine as Google’s Chrome. That means that websites viewed in the newest Microsoft Edge browser will look more like they are viewed in Google Chrome versus how they look in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 11.

You may not notice that your website actually looks a little different in each browser, but our web developers do. We spend a fair amount of time creating websites that are as close to standard compliant as possible because it is our belief that all web browsers are working towards the standards. Long term, this reduces maintenance. It also helps with conforming to WCAG accessibility guidelines.

Our developer’s spend time checking your website in the major browsers, notably during new website builds, but also when making larger maintenance updates to your site. In general, we only support the last 2 major versions of the major browsers, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer 11 (that counts as 2). For what it’s worth, Microsoft doesn’t even want you to use Internet Explorer anymore if you don’t have to.

We’ve already been looking at your sites in the new Microsoft Edge browser, so as it rolls out to everyone’s workstations over the next few weeks your site is already set.

Read more about what to expect with Microsoft Edge

WordPress Year In Review

WordPress

It’s that time of year where every website publishes their year end retrospectives.  Here’s some interesting stats I saw about WordPress in 2019 (from hostingtribunal.com)

 

  • WordPress powers 34% of the internet in 2019, a 4% rise from the previous year.
  • If you count only the CMS-built sites, then about 60% of them are WordPress
  • Over 400 million people visit WordPress sites each month
  • 28% of all e-commerce goes through WooCommerce (a popular WordPress Plugin)
  • 281 new WooCommerce shops appear on average every day
  • 661 WordPress sites also pop up daily

As you know, WordPress is CU*Answers Web Services’ platform of choice due to its ease of use and flexibility.

 

Intro to Web Development Course (Free)

Accessibility

Recently Web Services has been working with Credit Union staff who are aspiring web developers.  It’s great seeing our clients get more tech savvy.

This particular article came across my news feed this week and I wanted to share it.  It looks like a good set of fundamentals for what a web professional does every day.

I have not read the entire series (it’s pretty long), but I definitely like the metaphor describing what is being taught in this series:

Creating a website is like building a house.  You need tools:  your editor, your browsers, your command line.  You need building materials: HTML language.  And then you want to make it look nice:  CSS, JavaScript and Images.  (From the Overview).

Check out this series.  It will give you some insight into what we do every day as web developers, or if you are an aspiring developer, it’s a nice series to get your started on the basics.

Intro to Web Development by Brian Holt

All Hosted WordPress sites Updated to Latest 5.3 release

WordPress

As part of your WordPress Managed hosting with CU*Answers Web Services, we have automatically updated all websites to the latest WordPress 5.3 release.  This helps keeps your website secure and tracking along with the other system level components.  CU*Answers Web Services regularly updates your WordPress core and plugin files.

With WordPress 5.3 you will notice cosmetic updates to the WordPress Dashboard, including some changes that improve accessibility.  Other notable improvements are updates to the Gutenberg editor (which we’re exploring with a few clients) and large image handling.  The large image handling will certainly help some client website’s performance if they are unable to optimize their banner images before uploading.

For more behind the scenes details, check out WP Tavern’s coverage of WordPress 5.3.