Tech Tip: Try out Vivaldi web browser

By Nathan Vidal,

Try Vivaldi Web Browser

Vivaldi - A browser for our friends (Vivaldi.com)Web browsers have come a long way since their inception. First, we have moved from an era of a single dominant web browser to one of many formidable choices. Secondly, there are now a plethora of browsers focusing on speed and standards compliance. If you are searching for an alternative to common web browsers such as Chrome or Firefox try Vivaldi web browser. Vivaldi is a Chromium based browser created by one of the creators of the popular Opera web browser.

What makes Vivaldi web browser different

Vivaldi uses the same Blink rendering engine as Google Chrome but still looks and feels completely different. While appearance is a major differentiating factor, the principle behind Vivaldi’s creation are even more so. It focuses on users and puts user experience front and center. This principle is what sets Vivaldi apart from the more established browsers. It aims to most importantly be a people friendly web browser.

Appearance

One of the first things you will notice about Vivaldi is it’s colourful yet minimalist appearance. Since the browser chrome changes to match the colour of the website that you are browsing if the primary colour on the site is blue then the tab and toolbar’s background colour will change to blue. This is possible because Vivaldi is built using the same technologies used to build websites – HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Themes

Don’t like the default look of the browser? You can  choose from the many predefined themes available. Conversely, you can create your own. Therefore, this offers a level of customization not usually seen in other browsers without requiring any additional download.

Vivaldi button > Tools > Settings…. > Themes

Vivaldi theme settings

Screenshot of Vivaldi theme settings

Tabs

By default Vivaldi tabs are located at the top of the window but this positioning is easily changed in the web browser’s settings. Tabs can be positioned at the top of the browser window or at the bottom. Alternatively, position tab previews to the left or the right of the browser window. Also, select where new tabs are positioned and which tab gets focus when a tab is closed.

Vivaldi button > Tools > Settings…. > Tabs

Vivaldi Tab Settings

Screenshot of Vivaldi tab settings

Panels

Vivaldi also offers panels for handling downloads, bookmarks and notes. Position the panel to the left or right of the browser window and click on the appropriate icon to expand or contract the panels. You can also add custom websites as panels by clicking the plus icon.

Vivaldi button > Tools > Settings…. > Panels

Vivaldi downloads panel

Screenshot of Vivaldi downloads panel

Functionality

Vivaldi is not a clone of Google Chrome with a different user interface. Apart from the visual difference this Chromium based browser offers it also offers various features to maximize personalization. Hence ou can customize many aspects of Vivaldi’s behaviour to make the browser truly yours.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Spend a lot of time typing on the keyboard? Enable or disable keyboard shortcuts in Vivaldi. You can change default keyboard shortcuts to something that  better suits your preference.

Vivaldi button > Tools > Settings…. > Keyboard

Vivaldi keyboard settings

Screenshot of Vivaldi keyboard settings

Mouse Gestures

Another feature of Vivaldi web browser is the ability to assign actions to mouse gestures. Navigate through a website using the mouse by utilizing these gestures. Choose whether to activate gestures by right clicking or pressing the Alt key.

Vivaldi button > Tools > Settings…. > Mouse

Vivaldi mouse settings

Screenshot of Vivaldi mouse settings

Installing Flash

If you already have Google Chrome installed then Vivaldi should pick up the Flash plugin automatically. You can also install Flash manually. Simply select your operating system and the Chromium web browser to download the appropriate version of the plugin.

Conclusion

Trying out Vivaldi does not mean you have to make it your default browser. Give it a go and see if using it improves your browsing experience. Despite our loyalty to our favourite web browsers, it is always good to try out new promising software. This helps to keep the web browser market active and prevent the “one dominant browser” situation we suffered from in the past.

Have you ever tried the Vivaldi web browser? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.

5 Tips for securing WordPress websites

By Nathan Vidal,

5 tips for securing WordPress websites

One of the most popular content management systems (CMS) used in web design is WordPress. The open source CMS has a lot of things going for it.  WordPress is free, easy to install, easy to use and it can be customized through themes and plugins. Unfortunately, popularity comes with a price. WordPress possesses a market share that makes it an ideal target for those seeking to distribute malware or gain access to your website. Vulnerabilities in web server software and outdated plugins or themes are common points of entry for attackers. Securing WordPress websites can save you and your clients a lot of headache in the future. Here are 5 tips to help boost your WordPress installation’s security.

1) Choose a host that prioritizes security

First, choose a host that makes security a priority to minimize the chance of web server vulnerabilities. Hosts with a good reputation are more likely to keep server software patched and scan their systems for malware and viruses. A vulnerability in your web server can affect your WordPress installation despite all your best efforts. Therefore, this step is of paramount importance to ensure your website is secure.

2) Minimize your use of plugins

Despite the usefulness and added functionality plugins provide, each new plugin is a potential point of entry for attack. First and foremost you should only use plugins from trusted sources. These plugins are less likely to contain malicious code. Secondly, choose actively developed plugins. Plugins that are no longer updated may be susceptible to new vulnerabilities while unlikely to be patched. As a result,  you reduce the avenues which an attacker has to exploit by keeping the number of plugins to a minimum.

3) Choose themes from trusted sources

Themes allow you to customize the appearance of WordPress. Unlike plugins, only one theme can be active at a time. This active theme could be a point of entry for attackers. It is vital that you choose a theme from a source that is trusted. Themes may become outdated and abandoned by its developers. If a theme is not kept updated it could make your website vulnerable to attack.

4) Manage credentials and users

To protect your WordPress website you should be careful who you give access to the back-end of your website. WordPress allows you to assign different roles to users.  Assign the right roles to users based on the permissions they will need. Do not give more privileges than are absolutely necessary. Also protect your login credentials by keeping them private. In addition do not share them or use the same password on multiple websites. This helps to minimize any unauthorized access to your website using existing credentials.

5) Use security plugins

Security plugins can notify you of unauthorized access to your website. They can also notify you of vulnerabilities in your website via plugins or other files. A few popular security plugins for WordPress are Sucuri Security and Wordfence Security.

Conclusion

It may take some additional work to secure a WordPress installation but it is worth it. A compromised website is a hassle to clean up. There is also a negative impact on search engine optimization that might occur. If your website contains malware search engines such as Google or Bing can block it. While securing your WordPress website cannot guarantee it will never be compromised, it hugely reduces the chances of that happening.

Tech Tip: Rename Browser Tab Title

By Nathan Vidal,

Rename Tab Title

We expect websites to provide useful titles that are descriptive and add context to our web browsing activities. To be fair, many do. However, the more tabs you have open the less real estate you have for titles. If the company name precedes the page title the problem is even worse. There are also times when you simply want to customize the text displayed on your tab. Wouldn’t it be great if you had the option to rename the browser tab title to something more useful? With extensions for Firefox and Chrome you can freely edit the title of your browser tabs.

 

Rename browser tab title in Firefox

To rename a tab title in Firefox you first need to download the Rename Tab Title Extension. This add-on does not require you to restart your browser before it starts working. The changes you make to the tab title will last for your session but will not be saved when you restart your browser. The instructions for use from Mozilla Add-ons site are as follows:

Right Click (on the web page) -> Select Rename Tab Title or Shortcut (Cmd/Ctrl + e)
You’ll get a popup, enter the new title.
Press Enter.

Rename browser tab title in Firefox

Rename browser tab title in Chrome

To rename the tab title in Chrome you need to install the RenameTab Extension from the Chrome  store. This extension does not require that you restart your browser and adds a button your Chrome toolbar to rename the current tab. The author of the extension describes it in the Chrome web store as follows:

This extension lets you change the title of the current tab to something more descriptive. You can even ‘lock’ a title to a tab, even if you navigate to a different page! Please note that this will not work well on websites which dynamically change the tile of the page, or only change parts of the page while navigating (e.g Facebook), or if you type a new URL in (but I’m trying to find a way around the last one)

Rename browser tab title in Chrome

SeizerStyle Designs Newsletter 2016.01

By Nathan Vidal,

Newsletter for January 2016

SeizerStyle Designs Newsletter

January 2016 Newsletter

Running a business is hard work and even the best business owners struggle at some point. That however, does not mean that doing business is all about gloom and doom. There are many joys in finding creative ways to solve our clients’ problems. Having a sound strategy and being proactive are two ways of  getting our business on the right track despite all odds. In this newsletter we explore some ways of being proactive in tackling common business problems.

Web Design

Web design is an ever evolving field and it is important to stay updated with latest trends and best practices. The design principles and optimization strategies that worked in the past may not necessarily work in the future. We aim to strike a balance between being early adopters of new technology and applying mature solutions that have been tried and tested for our clients.

Mobile-first redesign

Mobile DevicesOur websites have long been responsive to adapt to different screen sizes but at the start of the year we launched a mobile-first redesign of seizerstyle.com. This shifts the focus from a desktop website that accommodates mobile devices to a website which considers mobile devices from the start. This design strategy aligns with the rising use of mobile devices and the influence good mobile experience has on search engine rankings.

Google mobile-friendly ranking factor

Securing your websites

SSL PadlockRegardless of all the benefits of the web, it is not always the most secure place. Some criminals would like to steal your credit card information while hackers would like to infect your computer or mobile device with malware. One way of improving security on the web is through the use of SSL certificates. These certificates allow the traffic between a visitor and a secure website to be encrypted rather than sent through plain text. We have enabled SSL by default for most of our websites and will be enabling it on all our websites and client websites throughout the year.

SSL Everywhere White Paper

Do you need a Content Management System?

The best type of website for you depends largely on what you want to do with it. If you want to update your website yourself you should definitely consider a content management system. Explore the pros and cons of this type of website  on our blog.

Is a content management system right for me?

Graphic Design

2016 Calendars

2016 Calendar CollectionIf you live in Dominica and need a local calendar our 2016 calendar collection may be just right for you. With 3 different designs, all highlighting the public holidays in Dominica, you can choose the calendar you prefer. All designs are free to download and use.

  • 2016 Dominica Strong calendar (1 page, 11″ x 8.5″)
  • 2016 Rebirth calendar (4 page, 11″ x 8.5″)
  • 2016 Comeback calendar (1 page, 14″ x 8.5″)

2016 SeizerStyle Designs Calendar Collection

Digital Marketing

With more and more people online it is increasingly vital to promote your business on digital channels. Social media is a popular option for small businesses to raise awareness and encourage engagement with  the community.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

To stand out on social media your message needs to resonate with your audience. This may seem easy but with the level of competition for eyeballs your chances to do this may be limited. Effective visuals and persuasive copy are vital to encouraging engagement and increasing the reach of content. Let us know what you would like to achieve and we can create compelling visuals for your social media marketing needs.

Special Offer

Exclusive offer to our newsletter readers. Request a quote for a design job using the promotional code Carnival2016 and get 25% off the original quotation price throughout February 2016.

 

 

Is a content management system right for me?

By Nathan Vidal,

Is a content management system right for me?

When developing your business website there are many things that you need to consider. Who is your target audience? What are your goals for the website? How will your website be used and updated? The answers to these questions will help determine the best type of website for your company. A content management system (CMS) is a  popular option for getting businesses online fast.  Some popular content managements systems are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. They are relatively easy to set up and do not require knowledge of code to install. A CMS is also relatively easy to update and maintain allowing users to focus on content rather than design. On the other hand, some businesses may feel restricted by the limitations of a particular content management system. There are many factors to consider when deciding if a CMS is the ideal choice for your business.

Advantages of a content management system

Quick set up

Stopwatch

A website created with modern content management systems can be set up quickly with minimal configuration necessary to get the site online. They generally require a connection to a database to function.  This can usually be created quite easily in your web host’s control panel. Once this is done you simply enter the database name, username and password while installing the content management system. If the content for the website is already created it simply has to be input into the CMS. This quick set up makes content management systems ideal for anyone that needs an online presence as soon as possible.

Easy to add content

Add content

One of the main selling points of content management systems is that it is easy to add and update content. To utilize the system you do not need to be a web designer or even know how to code.  Using text editors, similar in function to familiar word processing programs, you can start adding content to your website fairly easily. You can add text, images or links to other websites in a “what you see is what you get” environment. Most content management systems also support embedding content from other popular sites such as videos from YouTube.

Easy to collaborate

Collaboration

Collaboration is key to any system that requires input from multiple individuals. Content management systems are also collaborative environments. Access to different features of the CMS can be managed by user roles. Multiple users can then interact with content based on the permissions granted by their roles. For example, contributors can create content that needs to be edited by an editor before it is published. An administrator can control content as well as user roles and the other preferences of the CMS.

Easy to customize

Customize

A CMS can usually be extended by plugins and themes. Some of these themes and plugins may be available for free while premium themes and plugins have to be bought. Themes change the appearance of your website while plugins change the functionality. For example a sports theme will help a website dedicated to sports look more entertaining and focus on presenting scores, player profiles and other sports information.  A plugin, for example,  may help to capture spam before it clutters up your site’s comments. These tools allow you to customize the content management system to meet your specific  needs.

Easy to find help

Help

Finding help for any problems you may encounter with  popular content management systems is not too difficult. Chances are that someone has had a similar problem before an has asked a question about it in some forum. This could be a forum run by the vendor of the content management system or a completely independent site. This is due to the active communities of users of the various  content management systems. Since many popular content management systems are open source it also means that community members have access to the code and can provide specific technical assistance if that is needed.

Disadvantages of  a content management system

Common lookDefault look is common

The default look of the content management system is not very unique. Anybody who does not make the effort to change the default appearance of the CMS will have a theme that is not very original. This can easily be rectified by trying new themes but even then the theme will likely not be exclusive to only your website. It is common to see the most popular themes used on multiple websites.

Poor performanceCustomization may affect performance

While it is easy to customize a CMS with plugins and themes, having too many of them may negatively affect the performance of your website. A feature rich theme will take longer to load than a simple theme with less bells and whistles.Plugins may take up resources and the more plugins that you have active the more dependencies your website develops. Poorly coded or outdated themes or plugins can also cause conflicts and incompatibilities.

LimitationsLimited to constraints of the content management system

As easy as a CMS is to create and manage your website will always be limited by the same constraints as the system you choose to use. If there is a vulnerability to the content management system your website will be vulnerable until the vulnerability is patched. If the specific content management system performs some task slowly this will also affect your website. The popularity of the content management system may also affect the number of themes or plugins that are available for that particular system.

Conclusion

Like any other system there are benefits and disadvantages of using a content management system. If your website needs constant updates and collaboration a content management system is probably your best bet. If you are comfortable with coding or want full control of the functionality of your website you may be better off with a custom designed website.

2016 Calendar Collection

By Nathan Vidal,

2016 Calendar Collection

Welcome in the new year with our 2016 calendar collection. These calendars highlight all the public holidays in Dominica for 2016. The phases of the moon throughout the year are also indicated. All calendars are free to download, print or use electronically. Feel free to share with friends and family.

Dominica Strong 2016 Calendar

Dominica Strong 2016 Calendar

#DominicaStrong 2016 Calendar

This calendar is aimed at putting behind the hardships and heartbreak experienced in 2015.  It highlights the strength and resilience of Dominican people. This calendar is all about patriotism and unity as well as gratitude. It is dedicated to all those who came together in the relief effort to rebuild after Tropical Storm Erika.

  • Pages – 1
  • Orientation – landscape
  • Dimensions – 11″ x 8.5″

Download 2016 Dominica Strong Calendar

Rebirth 2016 Calendar

Rebirth 2016 calendar

Rebirth 2016 Calendar

This calendar is all about vibrant new starts. It features vibrant headers made up of vivid imagery. Below this imagery are the dates of 3 months of the year with public holidays in Dominica highlighted. Wondering what holiday it is? At the bottom of the month all holidays in the month are listed.

  • Pages – 4
  • Orientation – landscape
  • Dimensions – 11″ x 8.5″

Download 2016 Rebirth Calendar

Comeback 2016 Calendar

Comeback 2016 Calendar

Comeback 2016 Calendar

This calendar is a simple calendar with few distractions.  It represents the singular focus of someone making a comeback from a challenging situation. It is intentionally sparse with information about the public holidays in Dominica in the sidebar to the left.

  • Pages – 1
  • Orientation – landscape
  • Dimensions – 14″ x 8.5″

Download 2016 Comeback Calendar


We design calendars annually. If you are interested in getting your own custom calendars designed feel free to contact us or request a quote. We can design calendars to your own specifications. With our own templates we can also quickly use a pre-existing layout to get your calendars designed fast.

Fix broken links on your website for better SEO

By Nathan Vidal,

Fix Broken Links

SEOWhen you create a website it usually contains a lot of your own content and internal navigation links. All of these are under your control so you are aware of any changes. You may also want to include links to external resources or websites that would be useful to your audience. These external links however are beyond your control. Over time they may lead to content that has moved or websites that have been abandoned. These broken links are a problem because they lead your visitors to pages that do not exist and present an error page instead of expected relevant content. Additionally, the number of broken links on your website may be a factor which search engines use in determining how to rate your website. It is  in the best interest of all parties to fix broken links on your website.

How to find broken links on your website

Find broken linksThere are many different ways to find out if your website contains broken links. The most tedious way would be to manually check each ink on your website. This  can be a lot of work – especially if your website contains a lot of links. Here are a view more practical tools to discover broken links:

  • W3C Link Checker – allows you to check a webpage for broken links
  • Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) – crawl errors are a good indication of broken links on your website
  • Broken Link Checker (WordPress) – regularly crawls your WordPRess website and notifies you of broken links

How to fix broken links on your website

Fix Broken LinksFinding broken links helps you to identify the problem areas of your website. Now you have to fix these offending links. There are various ways to fix broken links once they have been discovered. The method you decide to use depends on the availability of the content or similar content and the importance of the original link. To fix broken links you can:

  • Remove the link to content that is no longer available
  • Update the link by finding where the content has moved to and changing the broken link
  • Replace the link with another link to relevant content

To fix broken links that occur multiple times in a single webpage or in multiple webpages you may be able to do a Find and Replace in your HTML editor. Many web design programs such as Adobe Dreamweaver allow you to Find and Replace text  across multiple pages of your website. If you are using WordPress the Broken Link Checker plugin allows you to replace all instances of the broken links it finds with a new link.

Regardless of how well thought out yor website is it is possible for broken links to creep in over time. This is less likely to happen with internal links than with external ones. Nevertheless, it is wise to check all of your website’s links regularly. No one likes dead ends and a broken link is just that. Use these methods to fix broken links and rid your website of digital dead ends.

Tech Tip: Try Firefox Developer Edition

By Nathan Vidal,

Firefox Developer Edition

Firefox Developer EditionFirefox Developer Edition is a browser specifically for web developers. It is a few versions ahead of the standard Firefox version and contains some experimental features. It is a 64-bit browser with a few differences from its more popular counterpart. It’s a useful tool for both web designers and developers.

Standard Firefox vs Firefox Developer Edition

Appearance

The default theme for Firefox Developer Edition is different than  Firefox’s default. It is darker and more minimalist. The default toolbar buttons are also slightly different. The web developer button is included by default on the Firefox Developer Edition toolbar. This provides easy access to web developer tools.

Web Developer Tools

While Firefox includes some web developer tools, they are highlighted in the Developer Edition. Some developer tools included in Firefox Developer Edition include:

  • Page Inspector – examining HTML elements and their associated CSS styles.
  • Web Console – logs webpage network requests, security errors and warnings.
  • JavaScript Debugger – identify errors in javascript by stepping through code.
  • Style Editor – edit the stylesheet of a page directly from the browser.
  • Performance Tools – view memory usage and measure your website’s responsiveness.
  • Network Monitor – see network requests, network request time and other request details.
  • Responsive Design View – see how your website would look at various resolutions of popular mobile devices.

Performance Boost

Since Firefox Developer Edition is 64-bit it can  take advantage of the capabilities of modern processors. Performance increases may be most noticeable in resource intensive web applications such as games and apps.

Remember Firefox Developer Edition is beta software. It is not intended to be  a casual browser. It is for those who are unafraid to experiment. Use it to test out new features before the general public if you fit that criteria.

Build trust with your website

By Nathan Vidal,

Build Trust

The priorities of small businesses  are usually centered around profit making and customer acquisition activities such as sales, marketing and customer service. All of these areas are important to business success and can directly affect revenue generation. It is therefore no surprise that they command a lot of attention. There is also a more subtle method of attracting customers to your business that can have a huge impact on how your business is perceived. It all begins with using your website to build trust.

Your website is an ideal tool for getting your brand message out. It is under your control and can be utilized in a manner that fits with your business objectives. You can use it to maintain the type of image that you desire. A good reputation is a very powerful marketing tool that encourages referrals. There are many ways that you can use your website to build trust in your business and we will explore a few of them.

Build trust with official channels of communication

Chat buttonYour website is one of your most important tools for creating and maintaining a trustworthy line of communication. It is a channel that any stranger looking for your business online can find. It is also very easy to refer people to it.  When information comes from your official website it is regarded as more credible than other external sources. Think about it. If you want to know the opening hours of a local store would you trust the store’s website or a third party website more? To maintain this level of trust it is imperative that your website is current and regularly updated.

Blogs, news and press releases

You can keep the public abreast of what is going on with your business in many ways on your website. You can run a blog to share stories and information and foster discussions. You can also have a news section of your site where you make announcements and publish press releases.

Email Forms

Forms on your website allow customers to send an email directly to your company with as little hassle as necessary. There is no need to log in to a separate email account or worry about sending the message to the right email address. The form can also be customized to guide customers to submit only the specific information that your business will need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Providing a list of frequency asked questions and official responses to these questions can help customers find answers to questions on their own. This may reduce the amount of time you need to spend answering these questions and provides a consistent answer that anyone in your company can refer to.

Testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to share what your actual customers think about your business with the public. Since it is written in the voice of the customer and not the business it may be regarded as less biased. Customers in doubt may also find the opinions and experiences of other customers helpful in making a purchasing decision.

Build trust with signs of security

Shield PadlockBefore customers consider making a purchase from your website they want to be reassured that the website is genuine. They also want to know that their financial and other data is transmitted securely. With the proliferation of online scams and unscrupulous business practices customers are more concerned about privacy and data security. Fortunately there are many methods that you can use to reassure your customers and potential customers that your website is secure.

Security Certificates

One of the best ways to reassure customers that your website is secure is to secure the data they transmit via your website. This can be done by using an SSL Certificate to validate that your business is authentic and that the data transmitted between your website and the customer is encrypted. This provides a visual cue that customers can identify in their web browsers.

Policies and Terms of Service

Honesty also pays a huge part in gaining the trust of your target audience. Users of your website may want to know how their data is being used and who has access to it.  It is important to address these concerns in a privacy policy. If you are providing a commercial service with rules and restrictions that customers should know about it is wise to also have a Terms of Service page on your website.

Easily Accessible Contact Information

Although a website is a powerful tool, it may not be enough to gain everyone’s trust. It is not unusual for people to seek out more information about the company or people involved with the company. They may want to have an actual voice conversation or even visit the business in person. Visitors may become skeptical if the company’s contact information seems obscured or difficult to find.

Conclusion

Building trust in your business is not about using clever tactics to appear a certain way to the general public. It is about transparency and allowing the core values of your business to be expressed in your brand’s own voice. Visitors to your website can then make their own assessment based on the information you have provided. Your business processes should always aim to build trust  and your website is a wonderful tool to start with. Trust is also a precursor to customer loyalty which is also good for business.

 

Tech Tip: Opt-out of Google Analytics tracking

By Nathan Vidal,

Google Analytics Featured

Google Analytics Opt-OutWebsites use various methods to gather statistics about visitors in a process known as web analytics. This allows website owners to monitor the performance of their  website over time. While this is a useful feature which helps  website owners tailor content to better suit the specific needs of visitors there may be some visitors who do not want their  visits to be tracked or more specifically not want their visits to be tracked by companies with large stores of data such as Google.

Google Analytics is one of the most popular web analytics tools out there and we use it to analyze our website traffic and discover what is working and what needs to be improved on our own websites. While we do not share visitors’ personal information, not everyone wants to be tracked by Google Analytics due to privacy concerns or just personal preference. Fortunately there is a way to opt-out of  tracking from Google Analytics on all websites with a browser add-on.

If you do not want your visits to be recorded on websites that contain the Google Analytics tracking code you can download the official Google Analytics opt-out add-on. The add-on is available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Apple Safari and Opera. This solution works not only for our websites but also for any other website that uses the javascript Google tracking code.

While we utilize web analytics to gain information about or website visitors and learn how to better serve them we also believe that their privacy is of utmost importance. If you do not want to be tracked by websites using the Google Analytics tracking code this solution may be ideal for you.