Category Archive of web development

See What the WordPress Gutenberg Update Means for Your Website

WordPress is an amazing Content Management System (CMS) that powers websites across a wide variety of industries.  In fact, more than 30 percent of the top 10,000 websites run on WordPress. It is open source, meaning that it is free to use and hundreds of developers donate their time to keep the platform safe, secure, and fast.  Our development team at North Star Marketing consists of a few developers that help give back to that community through volunteering time and speaking at WordPress Meetups and WordCamps all over the country.

Getting Ready for the New Gutenberg WordPress Update

North Star has helped hundreds of clients – from schools, colleges, and healthcare networks to banks, accounting firms, and manufacturers – reach key audiences through engaging websites that are built on the WordPress platform.  We’re making sure all of the websites we host continue to function seamlessly when the next major update to WordPress, Version 5.0, is rolled out in the next month. If your website currently utilizes WordPress, keep reading to learn what to expect with this latest update.

More Editing Flexibility

Version 5.0 features a new editing experience called Gutenberg.  Named after the inventor of the Printing Press, Johannes Gutenberg (1394-1468), the new content editor will take the place of the WYSIWYG editor in favor of a feature block content area.  This block system will give designers and developers a better editing experience that more closely matches the front end of your site. WordPress even gives you a great place to test out Gutenberg on their website.  

Many WordPress users may not realize Gutenberg is a fundamental shift in not only the publishing side of the CMS, but also the coding side of the platform. WordPress has always prided itself on being able to update without the risk of breaking features that might have been in the code for over 10 years.  That is wonderful for users, but very difficult for developers because WordPress hasn’t done the best job of keeping up with newer technologies. That all changes with Gutenberg. Developers and designers will now be able to come together to work on a simple editing experience that looks beautiful on the front end and back end of your site.

When you open Gutenberg for the first time, you will notice a complete shift in how the back end page editing is laid out.  The publish button is moved to a floating menu bar at the top, and you just click on the text to edit what you want. You click on the plus button to add a new block, and the settings for that block are found on the right side of the screen.

Once you are familiar with the block concept, you will notice that everything is a block and can be added very simply to your content. This will be taking the place of common shortcodes that we add to sites, such as calls-to-action, accordions, and testimonials.

Gutenberg Compatibility

Gutenberg is going to be great for websites moving forward, but if your site wasn’t designed and developed to take advantage of the new editor, it can cause some serious layout issues with your content.  

For North Star-hosted WordPress sites, we have activated a new plugin called Classic Editor to address the Version 5.0 compatibility issues.  This will allow your site to continue to use the current editing experience familiar to your website managers. You will not have to worry about any compatibility problems, and your site will keep running in its current format.  

Free Webinar to See Gutenberg in Action

The North Star Marketing development team is currently working on putting together a webinar to review some of the major features of Gutenberg. We invite you to sign up, and we’ll keep you posted on the particulars.  

Upgrading to Gutenberg

At North Star Marketing, we build custom websites that take advantage of the technologies that are available at the time of development to keep your site pages consistent and beautiful. Each site is different, and therefore each site will require different edits to become compatible with Gutenberg.  If you are a North Star client, the first step is to contact North Star Marketing and let us know that you would like a quote on updating your site to Gutenberg. We will then test your site and put together an estimate for the switchover. If you are not a North Star Marketing client and are considering either upgrading your WordPress site to Gutenberg or developing a new site, click here to start the conversation.

Gutenberg Webinar

Triad Payroll Company Increases Mobile Engagement 97% with Responsive Website

Responsive Web DesignScott Jenkins, President of Payroll Solutions, knew his website wasn’t up to par. It was nearly ten years old, and his team realized that a responsive design would be vital to meet client needs. As a result, Jenkins contacted North Star Marketing in late 2016 and launched his new site in April 2017. Since launch, the company is already seeing indicators from the new website that positively impact productivity, sales, and client retention. A few of these include:

  • Increases in direct traffic to the site
  • Fewer visitors leaving the site (lower bounce rates)
  • And a significant increase in mobile visitor engagement

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De’mist’ifying the Cloud

Ryan Cardwell - Senior Web Developer

I know that the Information Technology (IT) field is infamous for a strange love of acronyms and abstract terms most of which are confusing and unknown even to some of us using them.  Admittedly, they help to raise the shroud of mystery and disguise over what it is that computer scientists actually do; we feel so much cooler in our cloak-and-dagger terminology.  However clandestine we may like to keep such knowledge, the present reality is that lines are blurring between technology and pop culture with the prevalence of computers, whether they be large desktops, handheld smartphones, techno glasses or our normal, everyday refrigerators (or what we thought was normal until it started ordering groceries for us).  One of the concepts that is a buzzword today is The Cloud.  We hear it all the time in business meetings and in casual conversations. But ask any one person what is the Cloud, any number of unique answers will be given.  Let’s use the analogy of a cloud to explain what it is and how it can be useful.

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Out with the Old (Internet Explorer 8)….

Ryan Cardwell - Senior Web DeveloperIt’s not quite the new year yet, but North Star is making a resolution for 2014. No, we’re not going on a companywide diet, and we’re not doing a group membership to the gym (although it’s worth considering). But we are making a resolution we’ll definitely keep. As of January 1, 2014, we are officially dropping support for Internet Explorer 8 (IE8).  Read on to learn why and to understand the benefits offered by modern browsers.
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How Did I Get Here? Communicating Your Message via Intuitive Navigation

Bret Newton - Web DeveloperWhen a user visits your website, one of their primary objectives is finding the information they want quickly and easily. It doesn’t matter if they’re researching a topic, buying a product or simply validating you as a potential vendor, in most cases, your users are on a mission. The navigation style your site uses can either make their experience efficient and engaging or clunky and frustrating.

In this post, we’ll explore a few navigation options to make your site more effective and give your users a helpful browsing experience.

Once a user shows up on your site, they won’t immediately start clicking. They will instantaneously evaluate whether or not they even like the site…then they’ll start making decisions.  The aesthetic graphic design, such as eye-catching colors, fonts and images, has to grab your website visitor’s attention, or they may bounce – the technical term for a visitor seeing your page and immediately leaving your site.

Assuming your design has gotten the visitor’s attention, the content must also be easily accessible. This is where intuitive navigation comes in.   Read More

North Star Launches Responsive Website for Triad HealthCare Network

Triad Healthcare websiteJune 21, 2013 – (BURLINGTON, NC) – North Star Marketing recently completed a new mobile responsive website for Triad HealthCare Network, a Greensboro, N.C.-based network of physicians affiliated with Cone Health. As a mobile responsive website, the new Triad HealthCare Network website scales automatically to the size of the viewing screen, whether it’s being viewed on a smartphone, tablet or desktop/laptop computer.
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New Alamance Community College Website Designed and Developed by North Star Marketing

ACC websiteBURLINGTON, NC (January 22, 2012) – Drive around Alamance, Guilford or Orange Counties, and, if you likely notice a common sight: Alamance Community College (ACC) student parking stickers on the windows and bumpers of more than 5,000 vehicles.

Nearly all of these students interact with the College’s website during enrollment periods, and the vast majority frequent the site multiple times per week during the school year, checking schedules, accessing student portals, referencing faculty directories and more. In addition to traffic from current students, the site is also the first point of contact for thousands of prospective students considering their education and career advancement options. Faculty and staff also rely on the site to connect with their students and constituents. And the regional business community navigates the website to learn more about training programs and best-practice seminars and certifications.

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North Star Marketing Provides Photography and Website Development for Corporate Chaplains of America

Corporate Chaplains websiteBURLINGTON, NC (September 26, 2012) – Corporate Chaplains of America (CCA) is growing. In the past few years, the Wake Forest, N.C.-based company has built its own permanent headquarters, has welcomed many new Chaplains and support staff, and, in the past few months, has become an international organization with business and ministry opportunities opening up in the Philippines.

In 2011, to keep up with and encourage growth, CCA determined it was time to update the look, feel and purpose of their website.

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North Star Marketing Launches New Website for Burlington, NC, Engineering Firm

Alley Williams websiteBURLINGTON, NC (August 8, 2012) –  Alley, Williams, Carmen & King (AWCK) knows about staying power. The Burlington, N.C.-based engineering, architecture and surveying firm has been serving North Carolina cities and businesses for more than 50 years.

As they entered their sixth decade, the firm decided to update its web presence, calling on North Star Marketing to create a website that would communicate the firm’s professionalism, expertise and longevity.
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