Digital Marketing & Concrete5 Tips Blog 

Advice, tutorials, news, training and expert advice on the Concrete5 content management system, ecommerce, website design, online marketing and social media optimization from Pixo Web Design & Strategy. To watch training videos visit our Concrete5 videos page.  To learn more about our Concrete5 services or to get your own Concrete5 website please feel free to contact us.


Iowa State University Awards Pixo to Build Multi-Site Concrete5 Websites for Iowa Public Libraries

Pixo Web Design & Strategy in proud to announce that it was awarded a multi-site concrete5 CMS project by Iowa State University for the State Library of Iowa and Iowa public libraries websites.  Pixo will provide project management, implementation, website design and development of a model or template library site and consulting for continuation of a multi-site concrete5 web hosting environment.   

category: Concrete5
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Why Now is the Time to Upgrade your Concrete5 & Wordpress Websites

Do you have an older concrete5 or Wordpress website that a little voice has been telling you is ready for an upgrade?  Or maybe you have a business website that is older but looks good that works for you needs, that you don't see a reason to upgrade.   Well now might be the time.  A lot of older websites were built to run with older versions of PHP.  For example, concrete5 version 5.6 sites and older, along with Wordpress 4.6 and older are not compatible with the latest PHP versions.  However, the issue is that the older PHP versions are no longer supported so for security issues, many hosts are now requiring website owners to run the latest PHP version (7) on their hosting accounts.  This means if a website owner doesn't upgrade their website then their website will start throwing error messages.

What should you do?  Contact us and we'll give you a free advice on what is best to do for your website.  The latest version of concrete5 and Wordpress give you the latest functionality and security, but often times there are many options to consider.  We can help you with that.  Also, the newer versions of PHP 7 runs faster than older versions of PHP which will give your users a better user experience on your website along with more security for yourself.  Give us a call at 720.334.7496 and we'll help you figure out what is best for your circumstances.

category: Website Design


Concrete5 & Wordpress API Developers

I love it when a business grows to the point that the business owners recognize the need to innovate to attract new business, find new markets and streamline processes.  If your business is looking for concrete5 API development work (or Wordpress) to integrate with 3rd parties or to enhance the abilities of your website, you've come to the right place.  We have a great deal of experience working with Concrete5 APIs as well as integrating with third parties.  Need a SalesForce integration?  We've done that.  Need to customize an eCommerce website.  Where the best in the business!  Need to setup a SSO for a membership website?  We've got lots of experience.  Need database integration.  We've done it a hundred times.  have a SAML for REST project.  We can help!  You get the point.

For over 15 years Pixo has helped businesses of all sizes with their concrete5 website development needs.  We have concrete5 developers (and Wordpress) with extensive knowledge of API services and we can consult you on the best options for your website development project and help you find the best solutions for your particular needs.  Contact one of our developers today for a free consultation:  720.334.7496.

category: Concrete5


#ValleyOfTheBoom & a Historical Look at the Internet in 2019

I watched the first episode of the Valley of the Boom on the National Geographic channel and it was a little like a walk down memory lane.  Fascinating to see where the internet has come over the years.  I first started playing with the internet in High School prior to the world wide web.  Back that it was dial up modems and bulletin boards.  I remember writing papers on the Vietnam War that came completely from digital sources back in 1989.  I would be surprised if even one other person in my High School was doing that at that time.  Modems weren't a common household item back then and bulletin board systems were fairly limited, but I found the whole thing fascinating.

Then in college I had a roommate that was a college science major who was working on a web page for a class and doing a little HTML.  I had taught myself coding as far back as the 6th grade and asked him to show me what he was doing.  HTML was easy, so I picked it up quickly.  In 1995, as I recall, the the Netscape browser was on version 1.1.  It was still fairly new.  Had what I called the "breathing N" which told you it was trying to load the page.   It was very limited.  No style sheets or even HTML tables at that time.  That came out shortly after however.  I started building websites professionally around that time.  My first client was a company that sold long distance calling cards (lol talking about Netscape and calling cards is making me feel old right now).

Around that same time I wrote a paper for a business communications class on the number of users on the internet.  It was the first publication that I know of that looked at the research of a number of different surveys to get at a true number.  I believe the numer was right around 30 million users.  I put that paper on the internet and the University of Michigan contacted me and asked if they could re-publish my paper for some work they were doing.  Not that long ago the internet was a relatively small place.  30 million users compared to about 4.02 billion users today is very different.

Watching Valley of the Boom got my creative juices going.  It was a day of the wild west of the internet.  Even before the gold rush.  It was a lot of fun.

The internet of today is still fun.  But different.  When compared to television, we are still in the black and white TV days, but it is the larger screen b&w TVs with clearer pictures.  We are getting close to color TV, but nowhere near HDTV yet.  That will come quickly however.   If your business isn't prepared you'll be in the same place Netscape, long distance calling cards and the rest are today.  Give us a call and get a free consultation on how to revolutionize your business.  

category: Website Design


The Best Content Length for EVERYTHING

Often times people ask what the best length is for blog posts, page content, homepage content, tweets, Facebook posts, etc.  The simple answer: what are you trying to do with that content?  Different needs require different applications.  But there are good averages to shoot for that studies have found tend to get the strongest engagement.   

Studies Show Ideal Content Length For:

  • Tweets:  100 characters is the engagement sweet spot
  • Facebook Post:  40-45 characters 
  • Page Headline: 3-6 words
  • Paragraph Width:  40-55 characters
  • Blog Post:  this varies by topic, but a good average is 1,500-1,600 words
  • Email Subject:  25-40 characters
  • Title Tag Length:  55 characters (this although is for visible text for users and not for SEO)
  • Best length for a Domain Name:  8 characters (although the best domains match your business

Again, these are general guidelines that give you a target.  Is some content super successful outside of these averages?  Absolutely.  Depending on your goals, audience, how technical and design, you may want to go outside the norm.   Need some help figuring out what might be best for you?  Contact us at 720.334.7496.  

category: Social Media


Wow! Sweet Sixteen & A Birthday Present from Us.

I can't believe it is already sweet 16!  What an amazing ride it has been.  Today I spent some time on the WayBack Machine looking at old websites we've built for clients and how far they have come.  I'd like to thank the best clients in the world for a fantastic time of the years.  I really mean that.  Our clients make our success.   Who could have thought when Pixo was started that we would be where we are today.  It has been fun.

We would like to give a special gift to you.  Get 20% off a new website or Advanced Search Engine Optimization setup.  That is an amazing deal.  Just contact us at 720.334.7496 and tell us you saw the ad to get this special offer. 


Concrete5 CMS Team Announces End of Life for Version 6

If you have a concrete5 websites that is version 6 or older then now is the time to upgrade to version 8.   The concrete5 team has announced it will no longer be supporting version 6 and older concrete5 versions after 8/24/2019 and they will no longer be selling version 6 add-ons and themes after November 22nd of this year.

The latest versions of concrete5 have many enhancement and security features that make the upgrade to version 8 worthwhile.   Not only that, but you will be able to continue to enhance your website going forward to the latest versions and add-ons.  Although you cannot upgrade from version 6 directly to version 8, the transition for most websites is made relatively easy using tools that the Pixo team has to transfer your website.

Contact us today for a free quote to upgrade your concrete5 website to version 8 and ask about additional enhancements you should make during the transition to get the most out of your concrete5 website.

category: Concrete5


Why You Can't Fix Stupid when It Comes To User Interface Design

Internet users are inherently lazy.  How do I know this?  Because I'm an internet user and I'm lazy.  When it comes to user interface design, you have to make it simple and clear.  Why?  Because if a user has to work for it, they will probably just leave your website.  So, you have to build a website for the "lowest users."  Why?  Because you can't fix stupid. 

I remember a couple of years ago there was a problem with users asking 2 minutes after their registration why they couldn't log in to the website.  It clearly stated on the registration form that their registration would be reviewed and someone would reply after X number of business days.  The client asked me to add a field that was a required field that said "I understand it will take X business days for the registration to be approved."  We also changed the text to red to help users understand that the process required a person to review the application before they could log into the website.  It couldn't be done any other way.  Within 20 minutes of that change going live someone emailed in asking why they couldn't log in?  It was about 5 minutes since they registered and they had checked the required box saying they understood that the application had to be approved before they could login.  Lol

I don't blame the user.  We don't want to read.  Especially when it comes to semi-long forms.  But the little details can sometimes make a big difference when it comes to website conversions, happy customers and reducing the amount of customer service that you have to provided.

category: Website Design


Annual Pixo Giant Pumpkin Party

At Pixo, we like to build world-class websites, but we also like to grow world-class pumpkins.  Every year we grow a giant pumpkin for competition.  We also throw a massive giant pumpkin party when we cut the pumpkin from the vine and load it up for the weigh-off.  It is quite the event.  It is our favorite time of the year and we love to celebrate the fall season and the team's hard work.  Our biggest pumpkins was 1,220 pounds in the past (that isn't a typo).  Excited to see where the pumpkin weighs in this year.

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Selling Online in 2019: Wix vs Wordpress vs Amazon vs Shopify vs Concrete5

Are you looking to selling products online for your business?  Confused with the myriad of options to choose from when it comes to ecommerce platforms?  Here is a quick list of things to consider when making your options:

  • Wix is easy to use and fairly inexpensive, but it is somewhat limiting.  Particularly if you ever need to make enhancements to your website that outside of what functionality that Wix gives to you.  Basically you don't have access to the source code, so you are somewhat limited to make integrations or custom changes to the website.
  • Wordpress has many popular ecommerce add-ons including Woocommerce that allows for a fairly robust shopping platform.  Some people are big fans of Wordpress and others seem to struggle with the tools to manage the ecommerce.  The strength of Wordpress is that here are a lot of different plugins to give you access to a lot of different functionality and you have access to the source code for custom enhancements.
  • Amazon is a massive shopping platform and putting your products on Amazon gives you access to millions of shoppers.  The downside to Amazon is that they don't give you control of your customers and you have to follow their rules.  Basically you sell products on Amazon, but they are Amazon's customer, so opportunities are limited.
  • Shopify is a powerful shopping platform that is very customizable.  Shopify gives you the ability to create a robust shopping experience.  The downside is it is a little more complicated to use than other options and it is a little more costly.
  • The concrete5 CMS is a popular platform that many users find easier to use than Wordpress and some comparable options.  Concrete5's ecommerce shopping cart system is good for small to medium sized businesses ecommerce needs.  The cost is very low and the code is easily extensible, but the system is not as robust as a Shopify and doesn't have as many extensions as a WooCommerce.
category: ecommerce


Why Wordpress 5.0 is Going to Cause Headaches for Many & it Might be the Time for a Change

Have you heard about the new Wordpress 5.0 changes that are coming. For some it will be an improvement (Wordpress has been falling behind for years), but for others it is going to force some pretty radical changes that won't be compatible with their current website.  At Pixo, we have experience with those changes and can guide you through them.  Some business owners might find the new Wordpress 5.0 changes to be welcome.  For some websites making content updates in widgets and the like isn't ideal and the new changes will make updating a website faster and more intuitive.  More like making changes on a Wix or Square Space website, but without the limits.  

category: Website Design
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Why a WIX Website Will Cost Your Business Thousands of Dollars

I've seen it more than once.  A new business builds a website on a website builder service like WIX, Square Space or Godaddy because it is an "inexpensive" way to build a website.  They spend a fair amount of time on that site and over time build it out as their business grows, investing a fair amount of time into it.  Then new business opportunities come up and they get stuck.  They need to integrate with 3rd parties or add enhancements that simple services like WIX can't handle.  Basically you have no access to the source code.  You are allowed to do what their tools offer and that is about it.  If you need something to work in a specific way, integrate with partners or customize behaviors on the website you simply can't do it.  Now you've invested possibly hundreds of hours into a website that essentially you just have to scrap and start on a new website that has the flexibility to grow with your business over time.  When considering your online marketing strategy make sure you don't paint yourself into a corner and make a small investment now that will save you thousands of dollars in time or lost business later and allow your business to grow. 

category: Website Design


Why Your Website (Most Likely) Isn't Converting & the Five Most Common Fixes

I hear it all the time.  A website owner and potential customer who tells us that their website isn't converting or sales are dropping off.   They scratch their heads and wonder what they need to do and how they do it.  Here are the top 5 reasons why your website may not be driving business.   

category: Online Marketing
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Enterprise Level Multi-site Content Management System (CMS) with Concrete5

You may or may not be familiar with the award-winning concrete5 content management system (CMS).   It is easy (or easier) to use than Wordpress and as good for development (or better) than Drupal.   One of the latest features in concrete5 is multi-site content management.  Basically the ability to manage multiple sites from a single installation.  This works well for small businesses that need to manage multiple location websites, government agencies or for a large enterprise with a large number of high trafficked websites with individual needs.   

category: Concrete5
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86.5% of WordPress Websites Vulnerable to Hacking; Secure Your Website

Here is an interesting fact.  New research shows that 86.5% of WordPress websites in the UK are vulnerable to known hackable exploits which can allow malware to be added to your website and puts your data at risk. Europe's new General Data Protection Regulations requires a business to responsibly secure customer data and a website. Is your website secure?  WordPress is the most hacked content management system partially because it is the most used.  That doesn't mean it can't be secure.  Let us help you fix a hacked website and secure it.  Visit our website security center.

category: Website Design

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