Blog

Website Conversion: LiveEdit to WordPress CMS

Pilates studio website

Kristi Galante owns and operates a pilates and yoga studio in Gig Harbor. Her old website was powered by the LiveEdit Platform – a CMS that offers integration with many third party services, including MindBodyOnline, a popular studio service.

Challenges

When we opened the studio in October 2014, we anticipated high client interaction with the website (registration for classes, payments, etc.). We found that potential clients are attracted to the studio by the design of the website, but prefer to do most of their scheduling and transactions in person. LiveEdit offered integration with MindBody, but client logins were often problematic, and we saw little need to continue paying for the API at LiveEdit when the MindBody consumer mode works well for the small number of clients who continue to schedule and pay online. Plus, MindBody has continue development of their mobile app, and more clients are booking through their mobile devices.

From the beginning the template-based design at LiveEdit was cumbersome. Design elements were not flexible, and it was not easy to simply go in and change calls-to-action or pictures. Mobile responsiveness was not satisfactory, and we grew increasingly frustrated with LiveEdit’s technical support. The service was no longer worth the monthly fee, and we decided to upgrade our hosting plan with A2 to handle both of our websites.

The old site suffered from some performance problems. Overall page size was 1.3 Mb, below the 2016 industry median page size of 1.9 Mb, but well above Google’s recommended benchmark of 500 Kb. Additionally, performance testing via Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, and WebPageTest showed the site loading in the bottom 65% tier of sites.

Performance Benchmarks New WordPress Site Old LiveEdit Site
Google Mobile Speed:  69 50
Google Desktop Speed  88 57
Pingdom  88
faster than 82% of tested sites
76
slower than 64% of tested sites
WebPageTest Speed Index  1,416 6,076
YSlow  80 69
Web Page Size 387 Kb 1.3 Mb
Web Server Requests  25 48

Average web page size in 2017 = ~2.1 Mb
WebPageTest median Speed Index = 4,493; top 10% = < 1,388

Contributing to the performance lag were images not optimized for the web, slow server response, and the lack of header expirations.

Now we have a design that is portable, flexible, easy to update, and cost-efficient to maintain.

Fostering Content Management for Clients Through Open Source Solutions

Ladies Musical Club website

Graphic Design: David Owen Hastings
WordPress Web Development: Scott Marlow

To celebrate its 125th anniversary, Ladies Musical Club of Seattle worked with us to redesign their static ‘fixed width’ website into a mobile responsive Content Management System (powered by WordPress – the most popular open source CMS in the world).

The new site features rich, custom photography and videography; and a public concert event calendar. Volunteers can now add and edit content, including events.

So exciting! A huge thanks to you and David for the beautiful layout, design, your knowledge and patience while guiding us through! … There is more work ahead, more to learn, but let’s take a big breath and delight in this huge milestone!  Wow, just wow!
Claudia McCormick-Kester, Vice President of Communications

The new site also loads among the top 10% of tested sites.

More site features are planned for the future.

5 Places to Find Free WordPress Support

So, you’re thinking of launching your own WordPress website? Or maybe you have an existing WordPress site and you need help. Here are 5 WordPress support resources:

  1. WordPress.org
    Well, duh. Go straight to the source – get answers from Automattic and other open source contributors.
  2. WordPress.tv
    Are you a visual learner? Browse thousands of videos on beginner to advanced topics.
  3. WordPress Meetups
    Join over .5 million members who belong to 1,459 local Meetups. Find WordPress Meetups in your area.
  4. WordPress For Dummies
    Lisa Sabin-Wilson’s 8th edition since 2007. For WordPress Authors to Administrators, you can read chapters related to CMS topics that interest you.
  5. Friends and Neighbors
    Powering 32% of all websites, you may find helpful resources right around your corner!

Limitations

If your website is hosted on WordPress.com or you purchased a third-party commercial Theme, some support resources may not apply to you.

Sponsoring Seattle WordCamp 2018

Seattle WordCamp is this weekend at the Washington State Convention Center at 705 Pike Street. Weekend tickets are still available for $40.

If you manage a WordPress site, here are some presentations to consider:

Saturday, November 10

Sunday, November 11

Browse the full Word Camp Seattle schedule

5 Communication Tips to Inspire Nonprofit Donors

  1. Understand what donors care about – and make them the hero.
    Donors are deeply interested in how their gift did or will make a difference. Let them know specifically what you did with their money. They also want to know what would happen if they gave you more. That’s your vision. Be sure to make it big and bold. And, they want to be thanked, personally and frequently. In addition, don’t focus on how wonderful your organization is. Tell donors how wonderful they are. Instead of “Our organization fed 100 hungry kids thanks to private donations,” tell donors, “You helped feed 100 hungry kids.”
  2. Don’t talk just about your needs.
    The time-honored adage in fundraising remains true. Donors don’t fund organizations that have needs. They fund organizations that meet needs. Talk about the need in the context of what the donor can do to fix the problem.
  3. Use ‘you’ and ‘your’ more than ‘we’ and ‘our’.
    YOU is the most powerful word in donor communications. Research shows that donors give more when they feel personally responsible, over and above “we’re in this together.”
  4. Communicate without asking for money.
    Your stewardship communications should out-frequent your solicitation communications by at least two to one, preferably even more. Organizations that communicate solely with their hand out risk losing valued donors. Thank-you letters, e-newsletters and emails, print newsletters, personal thank-you phone calls, holiday cards, love notes from clients – all can make a real difference in keeping donors in the fold.
  5. Tell stories that illustrate donors’ impact.
    Storytelling inspires bigger gifts! Let the people you serve illustrate how much the donor achieved.

For more help with nonprofit communication:

Moore Ink. PR & Fundraising Communications

5 Reasons You May Not Receive Email

“Why am I not getting all my emails?”

I field this question a lot, too often, from smaller clients, particularly those using shared hosting platforms.

Here are the top 5 reasons you may not receive email

  1. The spam filter on your local computer
  2. Your or the sender ISP’s spam filter
  3. Your web host filter – such as SpamAssassin, a popular spam tool for Apache-based hosting servers
  4. Incorrect mail server configuration – such as SPF, DKIM, DMARC, MX and other settings
  5. User error – such as misspelling your email address.

Internet email system is a non-confirming delivery protocol. This means that there is no guarantee that an email sent from you will be delivered to the intended recipient(s). (Text messages are even worse – do not get me started) Do not assume email will be delivered to a recipient if no “undeliverable” message is returned to you.

Email can be blocked due to a blacklisted IP Address, too many spam trigger words/characters in an email, etc.

Prior to 2014, up to 90% of all email was spam, mostly related to pharma drugs. ISPs use tools like the federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 to fight spammers thru lawsuits.

Today, almost 50% of all email is still spam. In 2018, alleged spam kingpin Peter Yuryevich Levashov (‘Severa’) was extradited to the US and pleaded guilty to  federal hacking and spamming charges. This 37-year old Russian computer programmer is thought to be the world’s most notorious spammer.

Globally, only 1 out of 5 emails do not reach its intended recipient. As much as 80% of spam received by Internet users in North America and Europe can be traced to fewer than 200 spammers – with 20% originating from the United States.

5 Ways to Improve Your Email Deliverability

  1. Choose a web/email host with a dedicated IP Address
    This isolates your email from other (possible spam) senders on a shared hosting IP Address
  2. Host your email with a reputable third-party,
    Popular email hosts include Google Mail and Microsoft Office 365
  3. Avoid spam trigger words in your email
    Obvious terms such as Viagra increase the chance your email will be filtered. Excessive punctuation can also trigger spam filters.
  4. Use a third-party bulk email provider
    If you need to send emails to > 25 recipients – try Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Vertical Response.
  5. Pick up the phone!
    Ok, I know that last one has nothing to do with email. But if you need to guarantee your message reaches its audience, then nothing is more effective than 2-way communication.

Need help configuring your email?

For Apple users: contact Tim Hannon at Sound Support
For Windows users: contact Network Technologies

Learn More

Lookup your Domain on Blacklists at MX Toolbox

Email Spam [Wikipedia]

Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime – from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door by Brian Krebs, security expert

Krebs on Spam Nation

 

5 Alternative Domain Registrars to GoDaddy

Looking for a domain registrar alternative to GoDaddy, the largest in the world? There are thousands of ICANN-accredited registrar choices. Here are some of my favorites that generally offer more affordable pricing and often more intuitive User Interfaces for making DNS changes.

  1. Cloudflare
    My new favorite domain registrar service with no-markup pricing from my favorite Content Delivery Network.
  2. Google Domains
    From $12/year. The Big Gorilla. Killer Kahuna. Or Big Brother, if you prefer. Particularly useful if you use lots of other Google services.
  3. Hover
    Domains from $12.99. Owned by Internet giant Tucows. Free Whois Privacy included.
  4. Enom
    Another Tucows affiliate – but based in Kirkland, Washington!
  5. Dotster
    Domains from $9.99/year

Tip: many domain registrars provide domain hosting as well. And some of these accredited registrars tie your (annual) domain registration and (monthly) hosting accounts together. Meaning you must continue to pay a monthly fee to your ‘domain registrar’ if you ever choose to change your domain host. For this and other reasons, my recommendation is to keep your domain registration and hosting separate.