Ways We Set Our Clients Up for WordPress Success

Speckboy Web Design Magazine released an interesting article entitled “Ways to Set Yourself Up for a WordPress Disaster”.

We love WordPress. We believe in supporting open source software and the WordPress platform has proven to be a worthy tool for rapid website development. Its content management system base allows for our clients to be able to take control of their site without needing to become developers themselves. With that said, as seasoned WordPress developers and WordPress host, we have a good understanding of the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Here’s how we set your website up for WordPress success:

We Use Plugins Sparingly

We know that WordPress has the advantage in that it has an active developer community. So, there are many plugins to choose from that will extend the functionality of a website as needed. However, sometimes, those plugins present security holes if they aren’t updated frequently. Sometimes, the plugin code conflicts with the theme or other plugins and therefore the site breaks.

Our solution is to build the site with everything our client needs to effectively manage their content. Plugins are great for adding very complex functionality but for simple features, adding a plugin is overkill.

We Don’t use Stock Themes

Stock themes or premium themes are typically built with a wide array of target audiences in mind. We custom build our themes specific to the client we are building for. We build your site specific to your vision and your needs.

We Backup Often

For the client sites that we also host, we have a strict backup and maintenance schedule. We do not take chances with our clients’ websites.

We Take Every Security Precaution

If your site is hosted by CU*Answers Web Services, then you can rest easy. We have several layers of security protection from your website all the way up to the server and network.

We’re Proactive

We have our clients on a weekly maintenance schedule, where the WordPress core, along with plugins and themes are updated. We also stay alert to any critical security updates that may fall outside our weekly maintenance schedule, so that we can get everyone up to date.

Tri-Cities Credit Union Launches Brand New Site

Tri-Cities Credit Union Website Mockup

Congratulations to Tri-Cities Credit Union on the launch of their brand new site!

The new site showcases a clean and modern design that displays a large rotating banner that is perfect to call attention to the latest marketing campaigns, a sticky navigation so that users never get lost, convenient Direct Login Widget, an alert feature that allows them to alert members to important information. Additionally, the front page has a section to display most important products and the inner pages include a feature where they can post a banner image with marketing message for further member outreach.

Check it out!

 

Your Guide to Website Design

Smashing Magazine just released an article called A Comprehensive Guide to Web Design.  This article does a great job of walking through a website design project from start to finish! There is a lot of focus on user-interaction and accessibility considerations as well as decent discussion on responsive design and A/B-Testing.

Website Accessibility Sections:

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide on website design, this is a worthy read!

New Member of the Web Services & Marketing Team

Join us in giving a warm welcome to the newest member of the Web Services & Marketing Team, Megan Tenbusch. Megan is working as a marketing administrator, spinning up masterful marketing pieces with Pete. She is a great addition to our team!

Welcome, Megan! 🙂

Copyright and the Internet

The basic rule

The basic rule of copyright is if you create it, the copyright is by default, yours. When you post something on the internet, this rule generally still applies. So, if someone were to steal your work and pass it off as something they did or if they try to make money from something you created and then posted, you can take steps to claim your work and make them take it down – broadly speaking.

What is Fair Use?

Fair use is when you take copyrighted material and comment on it or make a parody of it. This kind of use is permitted without having to acquire permission from the copyright holder/creator. For example, quoting or summarizing books, music, articles, referencing medical journals, etc, are all examples of fair use. Simply put -Fair use is borrowing bits and pieces from the original material or making a parody out of the original material but not copying it entirely.

Posting Photos and Videos on Social Media

Did you know that if you post a photo, a poem, a video to social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., while you still own the original copyright, you have also granted the social media outlets a license to reuse the photos, the poems, the videos to use for their own purposes?

This does not mean that people can take these things from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and use it for their own purposes. You still own the copyright and so you can take legal action against anyone who tries to do this. However, you should always be aware that when you add these things to social media, you have also then granted them the right to reuse it.

Google Image Search

Google image search is a great tool that you can use for visualizing what it is you are searching for. However, those images are under copyright by the original creator. This means, as tempting as it might be to copy and paste that perfect image you found into your own newsletter or use it for a promotional piece, you will want to think twice. Google image search is not a repository of public domain images or copyright-free, therefore, you will want to assume that any image you come across is protected by copyright.

Copyright Tips and Best Practices

  1. Only use images, text or other copyrighted material that have a Creative Commons (CC) license. You will also want to make sure to read the terms of service as not all Creative Commons licenses are the same and may come with additional terms.
  2. Purchase your images from stock photo sites.
  3. If you found the perfect image and it’s not available on a stock photo site for you to purchase, you can always find the original owner and get permission for use.

ADA Compliance Tools Overview & Common Accessibility Issue

Maintaining website accessibility and ADA compliance is not a one and done procedure. It’s an ongoing process and one that should be built into the daily/weekly/monthly checks and balances for your organization’s website.

Thankfully, there are many free tools you can use to help assess your website and show where the adjustments need to be made. Often times, with short explanations. One of the tools we use here in Web Services is called AChecker. You can input your URL, click the “Check It” Button and it will give you a list of Known Problems to address. If there are no known problems, congratulations! That means, your website passes current compliance standards.

This tool also allows you to export a report, which is handy if you need to keep documentation.

Check Your Website’s Accessibility Now

The Most Common Website Accessibility Issue

Did you know that the most common website accessibility issue is missing alt tags? Alt tags are used to help identify the images on your website for screen readers.
When you have an image on your website, typically the code will look something like this:

html code example

As you can see in the example above, the alt tag is missing for that image.

 

How to Add a Missing Alt Tag

You can update the code to add the alt tag, like this:

html code example fixed

In the example above, I used the most basic description for the banner image’s alt tag.

If your site is built in WordPress, you can add the alt tags to images in your Media Library or when you are adding content to your site, if you click the “Text” tab in the editor, you can modify the image’s HTML.

Adding an Alt Tag to an Image in the Media Library

In the WordPress Admin area, you will want to click on “Media” from the menu. Then, click the image you want to add an alt tag to. As you will see, a window opens up with the attachment details. To the right of the image are the details. The Alt Text field is located just below the caption field. You can then close the image, as the alt tag is automatically saved. So then, next time you use that image in a post, the alt tag will show.

image attachment screenshot

Adding the Alt Tag to an Image in Your Post or Page

Let’s say the website accessibility tool identified a missing alt tag in the content of one of your pages or posts.

In the admin area of your website, when you edit the page or post with the image that has the missing alt tag, you can click the “Text” tab to display the html and then make that change.

text tab image

Offer Assistance if All Else Fails

Assistive technology tools aren’t perfect. Website accessibility checkers aren’t perfect. Human beings aren’t perfect. There is bound to be hiccups in the technology. The best way to handle the hiccups is to offer your assistance. Let them know they can contact someone if their assistive technology is having issues using the website.

To make this offer of assistance known, you can post the following to your website:

If you are using a screen reader or other auxiliary aid and are having problems using this website, please call [Your Credit Union’s Telephone Number] for assistance.All products and services available on this website are available at all [Your Credit Union’s Name] full-service locations.

This statement lets them know that you care about accessibility, you’d like to assist them and welcome their feedback.

Keeping your website compliant and accessible to everyone is an ongoing process that is made easier by using the free tools provided and when in doubt, let your website users know that you are always available to assist them.


Did you miss the first article we wrote on ADA Compliance?

Read Americans With Disabilities Act And Your Website