In the last three months Pixo has transitioned six Fortune 500 websites to Concrete5 version 5.7. These corporations saw the value of the Enterprise level tools that the Concrete5 content management system (CMS) gives an organization. A fair amount of work to port these larger sites over, but the long term value is there for a company of any size. Faster staff training, better management tools and easier website editing have proven to these Fortune 500 companies why Concrete5 is the Open Source leader for enterprise content management.
Don't get me wrong. I don't have anything against Wordpress. In many ways I like Wordpress, but I was reminded again this last two weeks why you may not want to go with Wordpress. It is vulnerable to hacking. I know there would be people that would argue against that. If you properly setup a Wordpress site you can make it much less vulnerable and we've done that more times than we can count successfully. The reality is this, however: when you build a website with Wordpress it is like a deer in the forest wearing neon orange. You can put on a kevlar vest under the neon, but at the end of the day it still wears orange.
I talk with entrepreneurs all of the time who have amazing ideas, but are trying to figure out how to take those ideas, with a limited budget and turn them into a money making reality. Some of these entrepreneurs are just starting out. Others are long time business owners who have new ideas and new products that they want to take to market. The question is what is the best way to do that on a smaller budget?
I've noticed a growing trend that I think is a bit disconcerting in the web design arena. Web designers are now designing web forms so that they don't actually look like the standard forms that we have used for years. No longer is their form boxes and standard check boxes, but forms that have a lot more style to them. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The forms of the past look kind of drab and uninviting. Larger form boxes look more friendly and if you can add a little flair to them, it only enhances the experience. However, some forms these days don't look like forms at all. Internet giant Google has gone this way with some forms. No longer is a text box an actual box but a single line, that looks something like this:
Was thinking this morning of our many blessings. We live in the greatest country on earth, we live at the time of the greatest technology advances in the history of the world, Pixo has the best clients in the world, we have information at our finger tips 24/7, Pixo is in one of the great states in the country (Denver, Colorado--come by and see us sometime) and I have one of the best teams of web gurus on the planet. What a great time we live in!
For four years straight, Pixo has been fortunate enough to be invited to do social media campaigns with the Disneyland resorts for different social media and launch events. I have to admit, it is a great gig. Some of the brilliance of what Disney has done is to allow you to completely interact with the resorts in amazing ways that allows you to emerse yourself into the campaign and personalize it. For each trip we have done to one of the Disney resorts they have literally shut down parts of the park so you can experience what they are doing without long lines. How many times have you completed a ride and had the ride operator ask if you just want to stay on the ride, because there is nobody else is in line? Like I said, it is a great gig.
The very popular concrete5 Pixo Form Templates add-on is now available for the concrete5 5.7 content management system. This add-on is perfect when you need to fit a text field and it's label into a limited space such as a sidebar.
To apply the custom templates that come with this add-on you simply create your form in Concrete5 as you normally would, then, while still in Edit Mode, click on the form block and choose Design & Custom Template. After that, click on the gear icon and in the Custom Template select box choose the label inside template. When you apply the Label Inside custom template the field labels will be put inside the field for text and text area fields that have been applied to the block. When you click inside the text fields the labels will automatically disappear.
The label inside custom template is perfect when you need to add a form in an area that either vertically or horizontally doesn't have a lot of space for form field labels to be included. The custom template is tabless and ready for responsive websites so it is the perfect edition for any concrete5 website.
One of the most sophisticated websites we’ve ever built and the most forward-thinking website for financial and life insurance advisors was launched by Pixo this last week. Built on the Concrete5 content management system (learn more), the BrokersAlliance.com website puts at the agent’s finger tips a plethora of tools that have never been encapsulated in one website before. From a single intuitive, personalizable interface, called myAdvisor Cloud, agents for the first time can manage all of their business, get real-time reports, quotes, access training materials and much more.
One great thing about the concrete5 content management system (CMS) is that its fame is worldwide. Business owners and website administrators have pretty quickly adopted what is one of the fast growing open source CMS in the market today. I love it when someone from Canada, Sweden, Spain or anywhere in the world contacts us because they have heard of or played around with Concrete5 and want it for their website. Just this week we launch a great law firm website for a startup in Australia (www.litigant.com.au) that wanted Concrete5 5.7 for their website.
These days working with companies around the world has never been easier. Screen shares, emails and file sharing tools makes it like you are working with someone that is right next door. So if you are looking for a new concrete5 5.7 website or to upgrade an existing site for your business and you are in Denver or on the other side of the globe, drop us a note and let us build for you a website with international appeal.
I like to take a look at analytics on a regular basis for our search engine optimization clients to see what users are doing when they get to the site. Having great rankings in Google is important, but if you aren't converting those site visitors it doesn't really matter what your rankings are if those people aren't converting to business. Too often I see SEO companies show great ranking numbers, but not focus on what is really important to business owners which is driving revenues.
The concrete5 team made a touch decision about 1 1/2 years ago when they decided to change directions with the release of Concrete5 5.7. Since you cannot upgrade a 5.6 site to 5.7 to some it kind of felt like they had been abandoned the community with the change in architecture for Concrete5. Although 5.7 brings many features that improve Concrete5 it made for a bit of difficult transition for many.
This morning Denver's 9News did a featured story on how to make money doing mommy blogging. Some mom's make a great income from blogging, but they are the exception. Really mommy blogging isn't about an income for most. Pixo's Amber Johnson will tell you that most of the big name mommy bloggers became such not as part of a strategic plan, but they fell into it. They started blogging because they had a passion that they wanted to share or they just needed an outlet. Some moms will tell you that they did it on a whim and to their amazement they got a following. Regardless of that, mommy blogs are highly loved sources of entertainment, emotion, information and friendship.
Just came across this interesting article that further supports our own finding for where Google is going for their search algorithm:
In addition, found patent filings from Google about ranking sites based on"user feedback:"
These are additional evidence of what we talked about in our August 13th post titled The Definitive Answer to What "Quality" Means to Google in Panda 4.2. To rank well you need to not only have strong technical aspects to your website, you need to capture and hold users while on the site. I realize that John Mueller in a recent Google Hangout said, "I don't think we even see what people are doing on your web site" and "So from my point of view, that is not something I'd really treat as a ranking factor." This statement is vague and I think it has been mis-interpreted incorrectly by some. Google may not have visibility into what a user does on your site, but they know when you click from a search result and how long it takes for that user to come back if they do return to the search results.
Bottom line, either you need an automated tool to simulate traffic going to your site using multiple proxies or you need great content to get and hold users on the site.
You might be confused, like many of us, what Google considers a quality website in the latest Panda 4.2 release of Google's ranking algorithm. Google defines some of this here, but in a deep reading you'll find that much of what Google defines is kind of vague. In Google's latest release of the algorithm we are told it would take weeks for this latest Panda release to complete, which really doesn't make sense. Panda in the past is about taking a snap shot of a site, evaluate the content and then apply a score to it. A typical Panda update shouldn't really take weeks or even days to complete. That gives us one hint to what is going on with Google and the new direction they are going.
Google sent out this warning via Search Console, while also reminding them that Googlebot’s inability to access those files may result in “suboptimal rankings."
Every so often we have a client that, with the best intentions, loses their focus for their website design. What typically happens is that they get to close to the details and as a result lose the big picture. When this happens, the development of the website tends to go on longer than anticipated and as an online marketing consultant, we have to remind the client of their original goals.
Every so often something goes wrong with Concrete5 where you are logged into Concrete5 but the editing toolbar has disappeared on the website. It can be a little frustrating. What you need to do in these situations is figure out what the last thing you did on that particular page that may have caused the editing toolbar to disappear. Typically there is a block on the page that is interfering the the Concrete5 toolbar code.
The long time popular Concrete5 theme by the name of Epic is now available for Concrete5 version 5.7 websites. This theme, developed by the website design artisans at Pixo, is slightly updated, but still has all of the features that has made it the chosen theme of the restaurant chains, small and large businesses. The previous version of the theme can be viewed at concrete5-themes.com. A new beta website for the 5.7 version will be coming soon.
The modern design of Epic, coupled with a great deal of flexibility now gains the powerful new tools found in Concrete5 5.7. Concrete5 themes built prior to Concrete5 5.7 are not compatible with the newest versions of Concrete5 which requires some modifications for the themes. The new theme is still a fully responsive design that is mobile friendly, but has additional animation effects in the header area that adds even more appeal to the design.
If you would like to use the Epic theme on your Concrete5 CMS website, drop us a note. You will be shocked how inexpensive this amazing theme will be and how it can enhance your brand and drive new business. Contact us to get started with Epic.
"Does blogging work and can it increase my site traffic?" That is a question I often hear from clients. The answer is yes and no. I sometime see blogs that clearly aren't worth the effort because the messages are all wrong if the goal of the blog is to increase traffic through the search engines. Good blog posts use the latest techniques for search engine optimization and focus on user needs. If your blog posts don't answer a question, aren't news worthy and don't have a call to action then they might be as effective as they could be.
I just looked at the calendar and it is already the end of the month. We've been busy at Pixo and so grateful to the team and all of the incredible stuff that has been done over the last month. We have one new website that we are just finishing up for a greeting card manufacturing company that has some amazing technology that will allow a user to see their card as they personalize it online. We have another sophisticated website that allows agents to interact with their business through a customizable online dashboard in ways that has never been done in the industry. We have another website that we just launched last week, that is going to allow this company to present their products in ways that their old website never could have done and they can now do it on the fly through their content management system.
If your online marketing is under performing, the following 3 simple ideas can help you pump new life into your campaigns. Sometimes it is the little adjustments that can make the biggest differences and usually it takes a few tweaks to increase conversions by 5% and 5% can often make a big difference in the bottom line.
You may have recently received a warning message from Google Webmaster Tools indicating the your website was not mobile-friendly or you may have recently heard how Google is changing their search algorithm and now it is more important than ever to have a mobile friendly website. We started talking about this on this blog back in November and it will be more important than ever starting April 2015 to have your website ready for these changes.
One issue we see too often with websites that are upgrading their version of the Concrete5 CMS to the latest version is that the site owner does not upgrade Concrete5 in the correct order. You would think if you are running Concrete5 version 5.7.3 that you could just upgrade to concerte5 version 8, right? It just doesn't work that way. Some version of concrete5 have to be upgraded in a specific order or you will run into errors. Follow the upgrade order below and you should be good. However, you should always do a backup of your database before doing any upgrades (better safe than sorry).
Remember that when you upgrade your website, the add-ons for your website will sometimes need to be upgrade as well. However, those can be done after you have done your final concrete5 upgrade and don't need to be upgraded with each "in-between" version upgrade you are doing. At times, custom blocks can break with some upgrades so those may need to be re-written after an upgrade as well.
Every so often we will get a phone call or an email from someone that has a Wix or Squarespace website who are looking for help. Their business has grown or their business needs have changed and they are looking to do something on their website that they can't figure out. The problem that they have is that their is a specific business need that one of those build-it-yourself websites just can't do and services like Wix or Squarespace just won't do any custom work for you. All of a sudden that low cost website doesn't seem like such a value anymore.
Our popular theme for Concrete5, called the Pixo Epic Premium theme, is coming to the Concrete5 Marketplace soon. However, contact us if you can’t wait for this modern, responsive theme for your website. The Concrete5 Epic theme can be viewed at www.concrete5-themes.com. It comes with many great add-ons, such as responsive slideshows, form templates, image editing integration with Pic Monkey and much more. You can also choose the colors for your theme template using an easy to use color picking Dashboard so your website exactly matches your brand.
Launched a Kickstarter campaign for a client today. If you are not familiar, Kickstarter.com is a popular website to get funding for a new product. People can go on and pledge funding for the product and usually get something in return, such as the product, at a discounted price. Frankly, there are often some pretty innovative products on Kickstarter.