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Web Designers: download our handy “Monthly Maintenance and SEO Task List”

All web designers who undertakes a lot of monthly maintenance for their clients must implement a checklist system for keeping track of the tasks performed for each client.

Having a separate task list for each client can complicate things. As a very visual person, I prefer to give myself a general picture of each month's maintenance work, so that I get a real sense of the amount of work left at the end of each day: I can then allocate time more effectively – and it just feels more structured.

By designing a simple template document and re-using it every month, I save myself a lot of time. You can download the Word document I use and customise it to your needs by entering the names of your clients or their website addresses, and writing n/a (for non-applicable) into any cells corresponding to tasks that a particular client might not require (such as PPC).

Download SEO Task List Template

It makes sense to put the clients in the order of their website's complexity and work your way down the list. If you are really into visual aids, you could also add a light shade of red to any tasks that you know Continue reading

Free Web Template for Mobile Disco and DJ Websites

We are releasing another free template, this time the theme is mobile disco and DJ. Dark background and contrasting bright colours, a top navigation menu and a left sidebar for more internal links.

The theme comes as a .zip file containing an index.html page, an image folder (all images are copyright-free) and a CSS stylesheet.

As always, this free web template validates as XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS 2.1.

You can preview the template here.

You are welcome to download the template and modify it for your own use, however we would ask that you don't remove the copyright notice and WebRightNow link at the bottom of the page. If you wish to purchase a license to remove the copyright notice or to get exclusive use of this template for your website, please contact us.

Download free web template megadisco.zip

Magento tutorial: displaying all footer links on one single line

The default installation of Magento has two lines of footer links, one that you can edit from the CMS tab of your admin (under Static Blocks – Footer Links) so you can add links to your own content and one that is dynamically generated by Magento via a set of XML and PHTML files. It's a bit of a maze but for help on editing individual links on this second block follow
this tutorial.

I am quite happy with all the links but I don't like having them on two lines. I want them on a single line. You could change the CSS styles to display the two <ul> lists of links inline, but then there are specific classes for first and last links so you get nice dividers in between all links except the side ones. You could do a lot of hacking of phtml code but the easiest way to achieve one line of footer links is this:

Open skin/frontend/default/default/css/styles.css in any text editor and rename the class .footer LI.last to something else – I renamed it .footer LI.verylast. Overwrite the file on the server.Now open your website in a browser and view the source. Copy the static code Continue reading

Is your website looking healthy?

We have just introduced a new service called website healthcheck. This came about because lately I have found myself offering advice to many businesses that already had a web presence but were concerned about its performance.

It’s a very common scenario: they had someone design their website – often a friend or relative who told them “Yeah, I can do websites, don’t waste your money hiring a professional” – the finished product looks good, it’s getting some traffic from Pay-per-click advertisement and direct links, but for some misterious reason it’s getting nowhere with Google’s natural search.

In many cases people have already thrown money at various SEO “gurus” promising all sorts of magical results and charging silly money for invisible services.

I look at their websites and come up with various suggestions for improving their look, usability and search engine performance. Results are often almost immediate and I feel an amazing sense of satisfaction having fixed something that really didn’t need that much work, just a bit of an experienced touch.

It dawned on me that it would be a great service to offer for a small fee: I make suggestions, the client is then free to pass them on to his own web Continue reading

Drupal Nodewords module and Zen themes

Nodewords is an absolutely essential Drupal module. In fact, I am not sure why its features are not implemented in Drupal out-of-the-box. I was quite shocked to discover that Drupal doesn’t include support for meta tags, so basically there is no way to add keyword and description meta tags to your pages (or “nodes” as they are called in Drupal – why? no idea) unless you install and configure Nodewords.

So you do.

And then… it doesn’t work. Blast! But you went through all the required steps… Let’s check them all again. You installed the module, enabled it, configured the “http://www.yoursite.com/admin/content/nodewords” page, set permissions and created those nice meta tags on your pages… You look at the HTML: no tags! What the…

If only those clever Nodewords guys had remembered to mention that the module doesn’t work in Drupal themes that don’t call the $head variable. Like Zen and Chameleon for example.

Solution? Simple. Give some $head. No, seriously now. Go to your Zen (or whichever) theme’s folder, open page.tpl.php.Replace the following code:

<head><title><?php print $head_title; ?></title>  <?php print $styles; ?>  <?php print $scripts; ?></head>

with this:

<head><?php print $head ?><title><?php print $head_title ?></title>  <?php print $styles; ?>  <?php print $scripts; ?></head>

Hurray! The meta tags will now appear in Continue reading

New look website

So, here it is: our brand new website.

What’s different? Quite a lot actually. If you remember the old look website, the first thing that will strike you is the much more minimalistic approach. Gone are the retro graphics and Flash animation.

WebRightNow is about “fresh” and contemporary web design, so we wanted to reflect that in the new look.

Also, we now offer a whole range of new services, like SEM, CRM and web hosting. There are some great web design packages that we believe offer amazing value for money: these can be purchased online via Paypal.

From a technical point of view, the major change is that we moved from a static XHTML site to a dynamic CMS. This will provide us with a better platform to support future expansion.

Basically it’s all very exciting and we can’t wait for your comments: good or bad, they are always welcome!

Youtube and Flickr integration into WordPress

Update: the Toque Tambor website has recently been redesigned by a different developer, so the links below no longer work.

I have recently been working on an update for a previous client, Toque Tambor. Their “web person” (every band or community has one) was keen to integrate Youtube and Flickr into their website. I had previously installed both a video and a photo gallery on their site www.toquetambor.com but he was finding it hard to update and couldn’t afford to pay for my services every time one of their gigs was filmed or photographed.

Because they have quite a following on both Youtube and Flickr and the guy is quite used to uploading content there, I suggested synchronising the new galleries with their existing Flickr and Youtube accounts. This would allow him to upload new content in the familiar way – which is especially good for the videos, since Youtube accepts uploads in many different formats and resolutions and converts them for you. The new stuff would then “magically” appear on their own website’s galleries.

I knew this was possible through WordPress using the Tubepress and Flick Photo Album plugins, though I’d never actually set it up before. It was fairly straightforward, the Continue reading

Testing on multiple IE versions

As a web developer, you will want to be able to test your pages on different versions of the major browsers, especially the troublesome IE. The problem of course is the fact that ever helpful Microsoft have made it almost impossible to install multiple versions of their browser on a single machine. I said “almost” because of course, where there’s a will there’s usually a clever way. Which is this: the Maddalone/Staudinger workaround, which basically works by removing certain DLL files and making some changes to the registry.

Fortunately for the less technically minded (and I can say in all honesty, that includes me), Yousif Al Saif has created a handy installer which does all the work for you: it makes the necessary registry changes and installs IE versions 3.0 to 6.0.

Now, I should point out that testing your pages in IE 3.0 and 4.01 is more of a curiosity than a really useful exercise. Anyone who is still using these browsers is probably locked inside some bizarre space-timer anomaly, so frankly their only chance of rescue comes from the crew of the Starship Enterprise. If you were really serious about making your website work in these browsers, you would have Continue reading

Testing nested DIVs using colour borders

The hardest part of the transition from laying out pages with tables to using CSS and nested DIVs, was for me the tedious process of testing the layouts on different browsers and finding that the code was being interpreted in wildly different (sometimes completely illogical) manners, yet not being able to visualize exactly what each browser was “seeing”.

I came up with the simple solution of assigning each troublesome DIV a different colour border, which would give an immediate picture of the layout when viewed in a browser. High contrast colours work best, and you can also choose between solid or dotted lines.

Now if a DIV has misteriously jumped to one side for no apparent reason, it’s much easier to work out its relationship with its neighbouring DIVs and find a solution – which more often than not requires a lot of trial and error.

One thing worth noting is that borders are placed outside the DIV by default, so if you give your CSS element a width of, say, 600 px and then specify a 1 px border, you effectively get a 602 px wide DIV. This can mess things up if you are placing that DIV inside another 600 Continue reading

Leaflet Campaign

Having recently printed 5000 flyers to promote the website and get some more clients, I was then faced with the dilemma of how and where to distribute them, and how many.

The problem was trying to predict the level of response I might get from the campaign. There are plenty of leaflet drop services, and I was looking at around £300 for having all 5000 dropped through people’s doors in my local area (no company would do less than 5000 anyway).

But what if the response ratio was, say, 1%? That would have generated 50 enquiries. Optimistic, probably, but then any kind of projection would inevitably just be an educated guess. And if I got 50 enquiries, at the moment I would never be able to fulfill them and I would lose potential customers.

In the end, I resolved to start mapping out my local area and drop the leaflets myself, street by street. I started with about 30 flyers and then waited a couple of days to see what would happen.

I got one email enquiry, though it wasn’t strictly a web design job, rather an offer of business collaboration. Still, any response is a good thing. And I now know that, in Continue reading