Zeus Admin Theme WordPress Plugin

The Zeus Admin Theme WordPress plugin extends the WordPress Dashboard and cleans up the UI for a more modern approach.

Click here to download the Zeus Admin Theme on WordPress.org

As I’ve recently been diving into other CMS platforms, it was hard to not notice how the WordPress Dashboard was slowly falling behind. While the stand-alone dashboard itself isn’t awful, it definitely is lacking some features compared to other modern CMS platforms. As my debut plugin launch for WordPress, I decided to create a plugin that would help bridge the gap between where WordPress is and where some of the new guys are.

Improved UI – To start, this is not your typical “admin theme” that makes WordPress un-recognizable. Instead, I simply cleaned up the look with a minimal approach. I noticed a lot of other “admin themes” attempt to completely change how WordPress looks and functions. Instead, I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel,but make it better. With basic markup I improved the aesthetic and readability. Without diving too deep, I was able to improve the admin area while keeping 3rd party plugins unified.

Hide Front-End Toolbar – The WordPress Dashboard is also seriously lacking some basic features. Shopify, for example, also has a front-end toolbar for admins when viewing the site. But if it gets in the way of your view, you can click an anchor link to minimize it. I loved this feature and wanted to bring it to WordPress. Included in the plugin is my own version of this. In WordPress, it allows you to move the admin bar off to left and out of the way. If you need to get back to the Dashboard, just click the arrow again and it slides back in. Simple, easy.

Global Admin Search – WordPress also has about 10 different search features within their Dashboard, but all of them are compartmentalized… there is no global search that runs across them all. This is another major setback so I included a global admin search that remedies this. With AJAX, it becomes really easy to instantly navigate to a specific area in the dashboard.

Menu Editor – Finally, WordPress has a reputation for it’s main menu to get extremely messy. This is because every plugin is fighting for real-estate in your dashboard. There’s really nothing you can do about this when you install a plugin. The Zeus Admin Theme solves this by allowing you re-organize the menu and clean up the clutter. Simply drag and drop menu items to move them around. This feature greatly improves productivity when managing your website.

Make Your Startup A Booming Business with these 5 Strategies

In Denmark, the bride is kissed by all the single man. “Seriously?” Mine was the same reaction as your’s right now when I came to know.

Likewise, when I interviewed Mr. Anil Gupta, CEO and Co-founder, and… Mr. Aslam Multani, CTO and Co-founder, Multidots, I was equally surprised with each takeaway.

Haven’t you read that wisdom:

– If you want to know the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
– If you want to know the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
– If you want to know the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers waiting to meet.
– If you want to know the value of ONE MINUTE, ask the person who just missed a train.
– If you want to know the value of ONE SECOND, ask the person who just avoided an accident.
– And if you want to know the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the athlete who won a silver medal at the Olympics.

Similarly:

If you want to MAKE YOUR STARTUP A BOOMING BUSINESS, not only read but reiterate these five strategies at every possible juncture of your startup activities.

Yes, I repeat: Reiterate These 5 Strategies At Every Possible Juncture.

Because by the end of this article, I am damn sure, you would realize that these are THE five strategies I think which can serve as the bedrock startup growth essentials.

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to interview the co-founders of Multidots because of a very special occasion (will declare very soon what special occasion that was!)

After usual morning greetings, I started with the stats: In a scenario when nine out of ten startups fail, says the article from Fortune by Erin Griffith, when the IBM and Oxford study claims that 90% of Indian startups fail within the first five years, and when 92% of 3,200+

In a scenario when nine out of ten startups fail, says the article from Fortune by Erin Griffith, when the IBM and Oxford study claims that 90% of Indian startups fail within the first five years, and when 92% of 3,200+ high growth web/mobile startups failed within 3 years says the most comprehensive analysis report Startup Genome Report Extra on Premature Scaling – what do you think is the biggest missing link in startups?“No Product Innovation,” Mr. Aslam Multani, the technical face of Multidots, said instantly.

“No Product Innovation,” Mr. Aslam Multani, the technical face of Multidots, said instantly.I asked for an explanation about it.

I asked for an explanation about it.Then he said, “Take any startup. Any damn startup. Everyone wants to move from point A to point B. And Multidots too is not an exception from that. With that mind-frame, when I meet people and hear their ideas about how we can take Multidots from point A to point B, my next immediate question is, ‘Why do you think this is an excellent idea to work upon?’ ‘Is there any research you have done that supports your idea/hypothesis?’”

Then he said, “Take any startup. Any damn startup. Everyone wants to move from point A to point B. And Multidots too is not an exception from that. With that mind-frame, when I meet people and hear their ideas about how we can take Multidots from point A to point B, my next immediate question is, ‘Why do you think this is an excellent idea to work upon?’ ‘Is there any research you have done that supports your idea/hypothesis?’”It’s because a long time ago, in the initial days of Multidots, when Anil and I were discussing the products which could be the best fit for market, I came across two stories, and I still follow the ‘essence of those two stories,’ and then he narrated:

It’s because a long time ago, in the initial days of Multidots, when Anil and I were discussing the products which could be the best fit for market, I came across two stories, and I still follow the ‘essence of those two stories,’ and then he narrated:In brief:

In brief:He first talked about William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers, a famous actor from the 1940’s.

He first talked about William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers, a famous actor from the 1940’s.

Mr. Aslam said, “at a keynote speech, Will Rogers was asked, ‘how to end World War II?’”

And his response was this (he showed me that in his MacBook): “The way I see it, the problem with Germany is their submarines. You see, they have those U-boats sinking our boats. So my idea to end the war and beat Germany is simple: What we do is we heat the oceans ‘till they boil. Then it will be so hot that the U-boats will need to surface to cool off and get air. That’s when we blow them out of the water. “ He continues with the following: “Now you might ask yourself; how will we heat the oceans? That’s not my problem you see, as I am just an ‘idea man’.”

“The way I see it, the problem with Germany is their submarines. You see, they have those U-boats sinking our boats. So my idea to end the war and beat Germany is simple: What we do is we heat the oceans ‘till they boil. Then it will be so hot that the U-boats will need to surface to cool off and get air. That’s when we blow them out of the water. “ He continues with the following: “Now you might ask yourself; how will we heat the oceans? That’s not my problem you see, as I am just an ‘idea man’.”Then he talked about Aguas Danone, a bottled water company in Argentina. He said this is my all-time favorite ideal when it comes to market opportunity analysis or product innovation.

Then he talked about Aguas Danone, a bottled water company in Argentina. He said this is my all-time favorite ideal when it comes to market opportunity analysis or product innovation.In 2001, the company’s sales were fading, and so they were looking for a new product, as Argentina was undergoing its worst economic crisis in its’ history. In a sentence, the company needed to boost its revenues through new, innovative, more value-added product development. Consequently, while doing market opportunity analysis, Aguas Danone identified:

In 2001, the company’s sales were fading, and so they were looking for a new product, as Argentina was undergoing its worst economic crisis in its’ history. In a sentence, the company needed to boost its revenues through new, innovative, more value-added product development. Consequently, while doing market opportunity analysis, Aguas Danone identified:

1. Bottled water is perceived as healthy but does not offer the attribute of good taste.

2. Soft drinks and juices taste good, but are viewed as highly caloric.He asked me, “Okay, what could you have inferred out of these findings?”

He asked me, “Okay, what could you have inferred out of these findings?”I was blank. Totally blank. Couldn’t able to answer it.

I was blank. Totally blank. Couldn’t able to answer it.[Coffee arrived!]

[Coffee arrived!]“Can you imagine, Aguas Danone realized an opportunity for healthy drinks offering both taste and flavor. As a result, they launched flavored bottled waters Ser with great success,” the CTO of Multidots said.

“Can you imagine, Aguas Danone realized an opportunity for healthy drinks offering both taste and flavor. As a result, they launched flavored bottled waters Ser with great success,” the CTO of Multidots said.Now this is something really crazy what you’re going to read:

Now this is something really crazy what you’re going to read:
Since the launching of Ser in 2002, Aguas Danone has been the leader of Reduced Sugar Flavoured Bottled Water in Argentina. In fact, beating giants such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé.

That was shocking to know.

By the way, just for your information: Bottled water is now more popular than Pepsi and Coke.

The point is…

Having an idea for a business and having a recognizable market opportunity (on which an actionable plan that can support a profitable business) are completely different.

Takeaway 1: always, always, always,…do Market Opportunity Analysis and find what customers really want.

“It is impressive to know that a two-people agency started in May 2009 now grew over a 140+ people company. What are your thoughts about how startups should do recruiting?” I asked Mr. Anil Gupta, the thinker dot of Multidots.

In May 2009, we used to believe that there were two critical skills every startup shall have:

1. Skills for building a great product that has clear market fit as Aslam just said. AndSkills for building a helping machine and so sales and marketing machine.

2. Skills for building a helping machine and so sales and marketing machine.

One thing is clear that if your startup is not helping people or businesses to solve their problems, you cannot survive. So when you desire to help people, help businesses, solve their problems, at any cost, you would need a team.

By the end of 2009, we have recruited six people. In 2010, ten. And in 2011, we brought a full-time in-house recruiter. So we got a total focus on sourcing and managing candidate flow which surely helping Multidots a lot in growing bigger and bigger. However, my involvement has always been critical as I observed the best people are almost never on the market.

The point is…

Any startup should focus on creating a culture that just doesn’t help in attracting amazing talents, but it should amplify their abilities and encourage them to do their best. This is how we become a magnet for tiptoers and passive candidates.

So now in September 2017, I believe there are three startup skills every startup shall have:

1. Skills for building a great product that has clear market fit as Aslam just said. And

2. Skills for building a helping machine and so sales and marketing machine.

3. Skills for building a company culture and so recruiting machine.

Takeaway 2: Write down. Literally write it down: “I want to Recruit Passive Candidates, and I’m ready to do whatever it takes – from building a culture to creating an employee referral policy. Iiii…WANT THE BEST TO HAPPEN, AND I’ll MAKE THAT HAPPEN!”

Of course, my next question was, “How you built such an enthralling company culture?”“In reality, we had never thought about creating a culture. In fact, it was back in 2013, we engaged our employees, made clear strategies, goals, mission, vision. In a nutshell, we all could visualize what sort of company we want and how we would get there. And it just cannot happen on its own.

“In reality, we had never thought about creating a culture. In fact, it was back in 2013, we engaged our employees, made clear strategies, goals, mission, vision. In a nutshell, we all could visualize what sort of company we want and how we would get there. And it just cannot happen on its own.We gradually started to list our dreams.

We gradually started to list our dreams.

Original: https://www.multidots.com/strategies-to-make-your-startup-a-booming-business/

The 6 Most Important Web Metrics to Know for Your Business Website

When you log in to Google Analytics, you’re faced with a sea of numbers, charts, and menu items. It can be downright intimidating to anyone but a seasoned analytics professional.

But, it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it looks. If you are new to web analytics, the key is to start with tracking some basic numbers. Once you get a handle on these key metrics, you can expand your data portfolio and build your expertise.

Here’s my list of the top six metrics you should be looking at on a regular basis:

1. Visitors

Specifically, I like to focus initially on unique visitors. This is the number of people that visited your site during a specific timeframe (e.g., yesterday, last week, last month). Unique visitors represents the count of individual people that visited your site regardless of the number of times they visited your site. So, if person A visits your site once and person B visits your site five times, you will have two unique visitors and six total visits.

These numbers are important because they represent the size of the audience that you are reaching. As you expand your marketing efforts, you will want to see if they are effective. This is especially true if you do offline marketing that can’t get tracked explicitly in Google Analytics. So, if you run a magazine ad in the October issue and don’t see a corresponding jump in visitors during that month, perhaps that portion of your marketing budget could be better spent somewhere else.

As you get a handle on tracking unique visitors, you can expand to look at repeat visitors. If your number of repeat visitors is growing, this means that people are visiting your site once and then deciding to come back again to shop or read. This means that your site was compelling and useful, or “sticky” in online marketing lingo.

2. Referrals

As you get a handle on your visitor numbers, your next question will be, “Where did these people come from?” The referrals report is the answer to that question.

Referrals track users as they click on links in search engines, on other blogs, and other websites to your web site. The referrals report will show the number of visitors you are getting from social sites as well.

Understanding where you traffic is coming from is the key to understanding how the work you are doing to promote your business is working. Are people mentioning you on their blogs and linking back to you? Are your social efforts paying off?

The referrals report is also useful to find other companies or blogs that you might consider forging a stronger relationship with. If you are getting traffic from a specific site, you might want to consider reaching out to that site and establishing a more formal relationship.

3. Bounce Rate

A “bounce” is when someone visits your site and immediately clicks the back button or closes their browser tab. What this usually means is that that user didn’t find what they were looking for on your site and decided to leave. This is the equivalent of someone walking in the front door of a store, taking a quick look around, and immediately walking back out the door.

Obviously, sometimes people just end up on the wrong site by accident, so getting your bounce rate down to zero is impossible. But reducing the rate is critical. Every lost visitor is a lost opportunity, so you’ll want to figure out why people are leaving and try to add the right content or navigation on your site to keep users around.

If you combine the referral report with your bounce rate data (Google Analytics does this for you) you should be able to see what sites are generating the highest bounce rate. Unfortunately, Google is no longer sharing search term data, so you don’t get to see what search terms have a high bounce rate.

4. Exit Pages

People often confuse “bounce” and “exit,” but they are very different metrics for you to measure. Unlike a “bounce”, when a user visits your site and barely views one page, an “exit” is when a user visits multiple pages and then leaves your site.

Some pages on your site may naturally have a high exit rate, such as your order receipt page. After all, a visitor is probably done with their purchase if they have reached the order receipt page after successfully completing a purchase.

However, having a high exit rate on other pages on your site may indicate that you have some problems. Take a look at your pages that have high exit rates and try and hypothesise why a higher number of people than average are leaving your site from that page. Are they not finding the information they need? Why are they choosing to leave?

5. Conversion Rate

Of all the metrics you might track, conversion rate is probably one of the most important. Conversion rate is the percentage of people who achieved a goal on your site. Goals are things like completing a purchase, filling out a contact form, or viewing a certain page on your site.

The reason conversion rate is so important is that it is the ultimate measure of how successful your site is. If your site has a low conversion rate, you are either attracting the wrong kind of visitor to your site or your site is not effective at convincing your visitors that you offer the right solution to their problem.

Monitoring conversion rate can also tell you if something is broken on your site. For example, if your conversion rate suddenly drops, that might mean that there is an error in your shopping cart or a problem with your sign-up form.

6. Top 10 Pages

Finally, it’s important to know what pages your visitors think are the most important on your site. By viewing your top ten pages report, you know which pages to focus on as you look to improve your site and which pages will have the most impact if you make changes.

If you run a content site, your top ten pages report may change frequently. In this case, the report will tell you what types of content your visitors find most useful and engaging, and which headlines you’ve written were the most successful. Use this knowledge to help determine what kind of content to create as you move forward with growing your site.

Start Small

Web analytics and metrics can be overwhelming. The key to avoid drowning in the sea of numbers is to start small. Pick a metric that matters to you and your business and track that one metric and try to improve it. By focusing on only one thing as you get started, you’ll get a better feel for the numbers and how you can impact them. As you get comfortable, you can expand the metrics that you track.

For much more detail and help with web metrics, I highly recommend Avinash Kaushik’s books: Web Analytics: An Hour a Day and Web Analytics 2.0.

What web metrics do you track in your business? Let me know in the comments.

Do I Own My WordPress Content?

As a WordPress specialist, I get asked this question from time to time by clients that are interested in using the Content Management System.  The short answer is YES, the WordPress software is open source which is free to use, distribute and modify.  You own all the work you put into it.

So why is this question being asked?  It’s because there is a BIG difference between using the free open source WordPress software and using WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a web hosting solution running the WordPress software.  They offer free hosting and premium upgrades.  It is all setup and maintained by the WordPress team.  In return for using their hosting platform you must agree to their Terms of Service, which gives them a license to use the content you create.  You still retain ownership, however, your content is license to WordPress.com for their distribution.

If you are using the WordPress software with your own hosting then there is nothing to worry about.  You own all content and are not giving WordPress.com a license to distribute.  Most websites using WordPress are using their own hosting, and this is how we build all of our WordPress sites at Gravity UX.

Things got a little tricky since WordPress decided to use the same name for their hosting and software, however they are two different solutions from the Automattic team.

Summary

  • You own all content when using the WordPress Content Management System
  • If you are using WordPress.com hosting, you still own the content, but give WordPress.com a license to distribute
  • If using your own hosting and WordPress, you own all the content and are not giving WordPress a license to distribute

Hope that cleared some things up about WordPress content ownership. If you have further questions, or are considering using WordPress, please reach out to us and we’d be happy to chat.

2015 O’Neill Coldwater Classic

Coldwater Classic Banner 2015

On Sunday, we headed down to the finals day at the 2015 O’Neill Coldwater Classic.  The event is held every year in October at legendary surf spot, Steamer Lane, in Santa Cruz, CA.  A few Santa Cruz locals made it deep into the event, but it was Brazilian Rafael Teixeira who took home the win.  Chooch was able to blow some steam off at adjacent It’s Beach and make some new friends.

Here’s a few pictures from the event:

Chooch is a happy dog
Surfing the slot in Santa Cruz The crowd on the cliffs at Steamer Lane Santa Cruz Crowd shot and Santa Cruz Wharf Surfer at the Lane Chooch at Lighthouse Field Chooch running at Its Beach
Sleeping at Lighthouse Field Westside Lighthouse at Steamer Lane

Keep Hackers Away – 4 Easy Steps to Keep Your WordPress Site Secure

There’s nothing worse than getting hacked.  I’ve dealt with several situations where a site was hacked and the clean-up is never fun.  Sometimes critical business assets are lost or compromised, and other times the site was destroyed completely.  If you are selling products, your reputation can be tarnished if your customers data is exposed.  Fortunately, there are a few steps that can be taken to ensure your privacy and security.

1. Use Strong Passwords

This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how insecure the password you are using might be.  Using your maiden name with a number is not a secure password.  The amount of data that is out there about you is unnerving.  In fact, this is how the latest iCloud celebrity hacks happened, hackers guessed passwords based on available personal information until they hit the mark.  Instead, I recommend using a password generator and saving these in a spreadsheet.  I use http://passwordsgenerator.net/ which generates random characters.  These passwords are very secure and will keep your information sealed.  Use a different password for each account you own.

2. Keep WordPress and any plugins you use up-to-date

Nothing will leave you more vulnerable to hackers than using out-of-date software.  This is because most of the time, new versions are released to patch holes in security issues.  This is especially the case with WordPress core and plugin updates.  A regular schedule to update software should be followed to ensure you are closing doors on preventable security threats.

3. Frequent Malware and Security Scans

Many times your site could already be hacked and you wouldn’t know it.  Hackers take advantage of small business websites to further distribute their malware.  This could mean your site becoming blacklisted and losing all of that hard work on your SEO.  To prevent this, I recommend using iThemes Security Pro WordPress plugin.  They recently partnered with Sucuri to improve their robust platform even more.  If you need assistance with setting this plugin up, give us a call.

4. Automated Weekly Backups

I really can’t stress this point enough. In times of need, backups can be the single most important asset to have on hand. Your web hosting company should also have backups on hand, however it is a much longer and larger process to restore these versions. Instead, I highly recommend installing iThemes BackupBuddy. This plugin is really easy to use and comes with all the features you would need in a backup solution. I set my options to backup twice a week and send to an off-site location (Amazon s3 storage), that way if my site ever goes down, my back up doesn’t go down with it. If I ever need to restore my site, BackupBuddy comes with a migration feature called importbuddy. In fact, it is so easy to restore sites with BackupBuddy, that I usually use this service to move sites and create development environments of live sites.

How To Customize Page Animations and Transitions WordPress Plugin

page-animations-and-transitions-wordpress

I was working on a client site recently and needed to implement a fade animation transition between pages.  Whenever a user would click a link, the old page would fade out and a new page would fade back in.  Page transitions are really nice effects that are giving sites a polished, modern feel to them – I love how they can provide a seamless experience throughout a domain.  It’s one of those new web trends where, if done right, it can take the site to the next level, however when done wrong, there’s nothing more annoying than browsing a site that’s flipping and spinning at you in every direction.

Since I’m building this site on a WordPress platform the easiest avenue to get this project started was to search for a plugin.  There’s a few out there that do the trick:  Page Transition, Page Animations and Transitions, and the premium WP Page Transitions.  All get the job done with plenty of options, however with all those options comes plenty of code that is useless.  If I had more time for this part of my project, I would have preferred to code up a more lightweight plugin, but since time was crunched I chose to install Page Animations and Transitions.  Of course it adds a parent tab to your WordPress admin bar (which is super annoying and why I always use Admin Menu Editor to move it under Settings).

Out of the box this plugin worked great and I had minimal conflict with the code that I already had in place.  The only problem was that it was applying the transition effect to my body tag, which meant the entire website would fade out and fade back in on every link.  This wasn’t the exact effect I had in mind as I preferred just the content to transition without the header.  I checked the documentation to see if the plugin could do this – nothing there so I checked the WordPress Plugin support forum.  After a very long run around by the Plugin author I decided to just dive into the code myself and make the modifications.  So, without further a-do, here is the answer to:

How to Exclude Header/Menu From Page Animations and Transitions WordPress Plugin

First thing first was to find the line of code that was adding the animsition class to our body tag.

Navigate to your Plugins directory via FTP.  This is located under wp-content/plugins.

Find your installation of Page Animations and Transitions and open page-animations-and-transitions.php

Here is the code that we are looking for on line 99

// Add specific CSS class by filter
add_filter('body_class','weblizar_page_anim_class_names');
function weblizar_page_anim_class_names($classes) {
// add 'class-name' to the $classes array
$wl_page_trans_options = get_option('wl_page_trans_options');
$weblizar_page_in_trans= $wl_page_trans_options['weblizar_page_in_trans'];
$weblizar_page_out_trans= $wl_page_trans_options['weblizar_page_out_trans'];
if( $weblizar_page_in_trans=="none" or $weblizar_page_out_trans=="none"){
$classes[] = '';
}
else{
$classes[] = 'animsition';
}

// return the $classes array
return $classes;
}

Side-note: Anyone notice the mistake on line 106?

This function is adding the class animsition to your site’s body tag by using the WordPress function body_class.  This is a useful template tag that gives theme and plugin authors the ability add css style more effectively.  You’ll notice this hook in your theme files next to your body tag:

<?php body_class( $class ); ?>

For our case, we do not want the plugin to fade the entire body but rather the content. Fortunately WordPress provides us with another function called post_class. This template tag is used in theme posts and pages to be able to dynamically add css styles to content.  You’ll most-likely find this template tag in your page.php template and any another page templates installed and will look like this:

<?php post_class( $class ); ?>

Depending on your theme – all we need to do to exclude the header from the page animations and transitions plugin is to modify the filter on line 100 of page-animations-and-transitions.php plugin file. Simply switch out body_class with post_class:

// Add specific CSS class by filter
add_filter('post_class','weblizar_page_anim_class_names');
function weblizar_page_anim_class_names($classes) {
// add 'class-name' to the $classes array
$wl_page_trans_options = get_option('wl_page_trans_options');
$weblizar_page_in_trans= $wl_page_trans_options['weblizar_page_in_trans'];
$weblizar_page_out_trans= $wl_page_trans_options['weblizar_page_out_trans'];
if( $weblizar_page_in_trans=="none" or $weblizar_page_out_trans=="none"){
$classes[] = '';
}
else{
$classes[] = 'animsition';
}

// return the $classes array
return $classes;
}

Save the file and take a look at your site. It should now exclude the header from transitions. If it doesn’t look perfect/if there is some content that are not part of transition you will need to modify where your <?php post_class( $class ); ?> is installed on your page templates. In my case, the titles were above the post_class tag, so I simply created a new div above the titles and moved my post_class tag there. Here is a simple version of what I ended up with:


<div id="primary" class="content-area">
<main id="main" class="site-main" role="main">
<div <?php post_class(); ?>>
<!-- All your content coding -->
</div>
</main>
</div>

Simple as that. Stay tuned for my own page transition plugin in the future. I am working on a much lighter and simpler solution than what is currently available.

Simplify Your E-Commerce Experience With Shopify

Over the past year we’ve built a number of new Shopify stores and have experienced first hand the company’s growth towards a user-friendly e-commerce solution. As we receive more and more inquiries about Shopify based stores I thought I’d cover a few key points of why we find ourselves recommending this solution regularly.

Shopify solves the problem of entry-level e-commerce

In the past decade and beyond e-commerce solutions have either been cheap, and basically garbage, or expensive, requiring a hefty investment. What Shopify has been able to solve is bridging this gap in a manner that works for everybody. They have given the market a product that works for budgets and works for developers and designers. They’ve done this by addressing their users needs: The client needs a simple, easy-to-manage solution, and the developer needs access to code for customizing.

They filled a niche e-commerce market by allowing developers to create robust solutions on a budget. WordPress is great for e-commerce, but its original intent was not for e-commerce and it can take time customizing it in such a manner. This costs the client money. Magento is a major heavy-hitter when it comes to e-commerce with companys such as Nordstrom, Adidas, and North Face using it’s platform. However, Magento development starts in the tens of thousands of dollars and is not nearly as easy to manage.

Shopify development can get started at a fraction of these costs.

Shopify is fun to manage and use

The administration UI is amazing for Shopify and other systems should take note. When managing a Shopify store, everything is where it should be. Navigating to update and add products is simple and intuitive. Adding additional managers, re-ording products, and receiving sales report is literally a few clicks away. I’ve found that when training clients on how to manage their store, the learning curve is far less than other management systems.

Shopify takes away the security headache

One of the great things about Shopify is it’s self-hosted security solution. This is something that I particularly love as a developer because it makes my job a lot easier. When you order a Shopify account it comes PCI compliant out of the box. This creates a win-win situation for the client and developer. The client saves money and I don’t have to spend extra time fortifying security measures because it’s already been done for me.

Shopify is also self-hosted, which means no one has to worry about server management either. If your Shopify store goes down (which it never does) just give shoot them an email and they’ll take care of it.

Shopify is optimized for SEO

Out of the box Shopify comes with a built-in SEO management tool. These tools are integrated into product management as well as other areas of your site to boost your SEO. Shopify theme coding is also optimized for SEO to make sure you get the best bang for your buck.

If you’re interested in a Shopify store, drop us a line or head over to our project planner.

Meet the Team: Luke Hertzler

What is your role at Gravity UX?

I am a designer, developer and co-founder at Gravity UX.  I do everything from from UI/UX design to front-end coding to back-end CMS modifications.  Recently I’ve been working on a lot of WordPress customizations for clients’ marketing departments, allowing them to manage their site in a more intuitive way.

What college/university did you attend?

I went to CSU, Chico majoring in Music Industry & Technology.  Later I found myself in Silicon Valley doing Marketing and managing corporate websites.  I taught myself how to build the sites I was managing which led me to what I am doing today.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Surfing, hiking, playing guitar, recording music, bike rides.  I spend a lot of time in the ocean or the forest with my dog.  I also run a recording studio, Anchorhead Recording, when I find the time.

What are you listening to when working?

Punk, metal, rock, classical or something ambient/abstract.  My all time favorite band is The Flatliners.  I’ve also been getting into podcasts lately too.   Marek vs. Wyshnyski and Off The Lip are a few I listen to.

Favorite Sport?

Hockey and Surfing.  I’m a big Sharks fan.

Favorite Artist?

Jim Phillips obviously.

Favorite TV show and movie?

The Office and Wayne’s World.

What is your dream vacation?

A surf trip bungalow somewhere in Bali.

Favorite Food?

Seafood – sushi, fish, calamari.

What did you want to be when you grow up?

Baseball player.

Favorite App?

Magic Seaweed, TeamViewer, Instagram.

You can view Luke’s personal portfolio at lukehertzler.com

7 Reasons Your Business Needs a Responsive Website

The mobile revolution is in full swing. Have you checked your Facebook chat lately? There’s a feature now that displays whether your friend is viewing on a computer or a mobile device. Sifting through the list, I noticed just about everyone is using their phone to view Facebook. The mobile revolution has made browsing the Internet extremely easy. Instead of sitting down at a computer, navigating to Facebook.com, and entering a username and password, all one has to do is pull out their phone and click their Facebook app.  Here’s 7 reasons to jump on the mobile bandwagon.

7 reasons your business needs a responsive website

1. Google now favors websites that are mobile-friendly.

Google recently announced they are making changes to their search results algorithm to favor websites that view better on mobile screens.  This change, taking affect April 21, 2015, could improve or hurt your SEO based on your websites mobile performance.  If you already have a responsive design, no need to worry – you might actually bump up in ratings, however, if you’re still on a fixed layout your site could suddenly appear lower in the search results for mobile users.

2. 60% of ALL Internet usage is done on a mobile device.

That’s right – the tipping point of mobile vs desktop has officially occurred.  That means more people right now are connected to the Internet using a mobile device than a computer.  This number is also projected to keep growing.

3. A Responsive website decreases bounce rates.

I do this all the time – navigate to a website on my phone and immediately leave it because it is not mobile-friendly.  I’d rather find the information I’m looking for on another site that is responsive than spend my time zooming in, zooming out, trying to click on links, etc. on a site that was made solely for a computer.

4. Responsive websites load faster.

It can take longer than expected for a mobile device to load a traditional website.  This can cause potential users to leave before your site even had a chance.  A responsive design is tailored not only for desktop browsing but mobile browsing as well, creating a faster and more dynamic user experience.

5. Content and social media marketing attract mobile users.

Your marketing efforts toward content marketing and social media bring in mobile users.  Again, just take a quick look at your Facebook feed – almost everyone is using it on their phones.

6. Improved Brand awareness.

Your brand assets will resize and automatically fit the mobile viewers screen in an appropriate way.  This means you won’t have images, logos, and text that are so tiny they are not viewable.

7. Future Proof.

A responsive design is not only optimized for smartphones, but all screens.  The coding language has a few breakpoints that determine screen size and re-position your content and layout based on the screen.  This means if a new screen size suddenly comes into play – we’re already covered!