A New Parts Catalog Web Site

Written: June 26, 2014

Trever Dougan and his partner are starting up a brand-new parts catalog company called ICDT and asked me to help them get it up and running this month. For the Content Management System I selected WordPress, because it is the #1 CMS now with some 70,000,000 users. Trever wanted his clients to see all of the electronic parts he offers, but not actually order them, instead they can request a quote. I choose a catalog plugin and then added the quoting feature. Here’s a photo gallery to give an idea of how a prospective buyer can find their part and request a quote:

After a training session Trever is able to add new parts to the catalog, upload photos, add PDF specifications, along with updating any page or writing news articles. The theme for this website is responsive, so it works and looks good on the desktop, tablet and mobile devices.

I wish the team at ICDT all the best in their startup company.

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Information Architecture

Written: June 24, 2014

The title of this blog may not present a clear idea in your mind, however in the web world an Information Architect decides important things like:

To that end we learned all about WordPress and Information Architecture last night at the monthly WordPress Meetup group in Portland, our guest speaker was Lorelle VanFossen. You can see the presentation summary at Lorelle’s web site.

 

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Avoid This WordPress Theme

Written: April 22, 2014

Last night I attended the monthly Portland WordPress Meetup group and learned about membership sites, thanks to our guest speaker Bob Dunn. After the meeting ended I stayed around to meet new people and answer questions. An author approached me with a question about making her WordPress home page appear correctly, because something funny was happening. We used her laptop and logged into WordPress, then saw that it was using a Theme called StormMusic from SMThemes.

SM Themes

Based on my experience I knew exactly where to look in WordPress to control the Home page content, so I said, “Let’s click on: Settings> Reading“. This is what I expected to see in the WordPress dashboard:

Settings> Reading

 

This dialog is where I can define that my Home page is a static page, and that my blog posts should go on a page called Blog. Nice and easy. If you instead wanted a Blog style of web site, then you would click the radio button choice for Your latest posts, instead of A static page.

To my horror, all of these choices were missing. How could that be? What would make this standard WordPress dialog not appear?

It turns out that the culprit is the theme author, SMThemes. In their theme they decided to remove standard WordPress features, and instead do something totally different. I would call this very poor design, because they took a standard WordPress feature and removed it altogether, making a WordPress user like myself wonder if I’d lost my mind. When a company makes a decision like this, then I will recommend that you stay away from this theme in particular and probably all themes they have to offer in general. What use is a standard platform like WordPress if theme authors come along and remove standard features?

You have been warned.

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Let’s Go Surfing

Written: April 18, 2014

One of my favorite web clients is surfer Nancy Emerson, and she teaches people how to surf in Hawaii, Australia and Fiji. Her newly remodeled web site is filled with gorgeous photos of sunny days, something that helps me muddle through a rainy Oregon spring time. The Home page features wide photos that rotate automatically, helping to tell the surfing story.

 

The theme for this web site also makes uses of columns and rows, almost like a newspaper or magazine, and that is something that helps to organize ideas and force the eye along a set path. Finally, most pages contain real testimonials from happy clients. A strong marketing principle is to let your customers sing your praise, instead of you telling everyone how great you are.

We had converted Nancy’s original site into WordPress a year ago, so doing this remodel meant that we had to update WordPress themes. The beauty of WordPress is that you can update your look, or Theme as often as you like. Visitors enjoy a visual change every year or so, almost like how the automobile industry comes out with new body styles and colors on an annual basis. Change catches our attention.

Mahalo.


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