Filter: Web Design

animated gifs

How To Create Awesome Animated GIFs

Animated GIFs may not be a new digital trend as they have been around since 1987, but they are on the rise as they seem to have pervaded everything from popular culture to news to marketing campaigns. Anyone browsing the web will most definitely run into funny animated animal images, video clips of celebrities with funny quotes and jaw-dropping moments caught on tape. Some things do look better in motion. Think of an animated GIF as a hybrid between a still image and a video. They are soundless micro video clips that loop without a play button. In fact, GIFs have evolved into something of an art now because of their ability to convey emotion and information in an entertaining way. No wonder GIFs have become one of the most widely shared image formats via social network sites, messaging applications, and even text messages.

What Is A GIF?

A GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, which is essentially a digital image format that supports both static and animated images. You can create GIFs from a series of images that run on a loop, which makes it seem like a moving image. It is possible to create the images separately and then combine them together into the GIF.

GIF also lets you play a short video clip stripped of sound, in a far more condensed image format.

The trick to an eye-catching GIF is to create a dynamic visual that matches the mood of the message. The best thing about GIFs is that with a few minutes to spare, you can easily create an amazing animated GIF.

How To Create An Animated GIF In Photoshop

Most designers prefer using Photoshop for making their own GIFs. Learn how to make an animated GIF in Photoshop in just one-minute with this video tutorial from Adobe.

Sites and Software Tools to Create Animated GIFs

Create Animated GIFs With Image

There are tons of free online software tools available that allow users to create a GIF by customizing picture size and GIF speed. Check out Gickr, Makeagif, or GIPHY GIF Maker (free).

You can even produce a GIF using free software, such as The GIMP or Pixlr and Unfreez by simply selecting your images in their desired order of appearance and specifying the frame rate you’d like to apply. Then you can save your image using the .gif extension.

Create Animated GIFs With Video

You can create GIFs from video clips in Bloggif, ImgFlip and Gifsoup, either by importing videos or even from a YouTube URL. You can also use programs like Format Factory or QGifer to create video GIFs.  You will need to import or enter the URL of the desired video, set the beginning and end of your sequence, and then toggle your size, color, and loop option settings before clicking ‘Save.’

Experiment With Animated GIFs

For more complex GIFs, After Effects is the preferred choice of designers because it allows greater control over movement and timing functions. Check out the GIF making masterclass by James Curran.

GIFs resonate with many people because they are easy to consume and are a fun way to communicate. Animated GIFs have immense potential as they are limited only by your own imagination. Get creating and implementing GIFs!

Best Background Ideas For Your Website

Along with ever increasing Internet speed and advancements in browser technology, the rules for website design also keep changing to be more effective and user-friendly. Today we consume things visually first and then by the content. It is the same for websites too. To get many clicks and visitors, your website design has to be simple, effective and responsive for every device (personal computer, mobile phone or tablet).

But when developing websites, most of the focus remains concentrated on the content and layout, whereas the website background is largely ignored. A background is the first impression that the visitor gets of your website and is the real differentiator between a boring and an interesting site. Choosing the right background patterns, colors, tones, and fonts does not just improve the aesthetics of your site but it can also help grab the audience attention to keep them interested in browsing for longer.

In this article we look at some latest website background trends that can give your website a quick refresh.

Images

Emotional branding through the use of high quality images as website background can help visitors make an emotional connection or positive associations with your brand.  Using background images associated with your brand, products or web content can add visual appeal to your website and also leave a lasting impression on visitors.

For instance, in the menu section of the French restaurant, Le Duc, a large hero background image is used to create a fun parallax effect and to deliver their brand message more effectively.

You can choose any type of image for your website background such as a photograph, painting, vectors, abstract art, etc, as long as it is coherent with other design elements.

You can opt for a full width image or pick a tiled layout. Just make sure that the image is not too busy and does not distract the visitors from the main message you are trying to convey.

For best results, make sure the image you added to your site is responsive and that it takes up 100% of the containing element.

Preferably you should be using your own images on your website, but if not make sure to always use copyright free high-quality stock photos.

Geometric Elements

Cool geometric patterns from swirls, lines, circles to polygons and rectangles are now preferred by designers for creating more tactile website backgrounds. Layering full width photos with basic shapes can give the website an awesome and creative feeling.

Shapes similar to your logo can also be used to establish brand identity.  Geometric elements should be used with a purpose to catch the eye of the visitor or to lead them to perform a certain action.

Colors

Designers are making bright website background color choices to add visual interest to a dull space in the website and to draw users into the design. Whether you use single color blocks or a combination of multiple colors the effect is for a fun and loud statement.

Besides solid colors, you can also try out gradients, textures and color fades.

Depending on the theme of your site and the impression you want to create about your business, you can even opt for a plain white or light gray background or a subtle color, as long as the colors match your industry. Whatever you do, the website background color should not match your text color as it will be difficult for your visitors to read the site content.

Asymmetry

Website background elements or patterns do not have to line up perfectly. It most certainly does not have to be a solid color or image. All of these elements can come together to create perfect balance that is far from cookie-cutter and certainly cannot be cut right down the middle. Designers can use asymmetry to create bold and visually interesting balance and harmony even though two sides of the design do not mirror one another. Using asymmetrical patterns as background is an interesting and thought provoking technique.

For instance, asymmetrical balance can be achieved using asymmetrical color blocks or the use of a hero image with large call-to-action that forces you to look at the text.

Video

With the increasing speed of internet and larger support systems now, you can now use video backgrounds to pique interest and prolong audience visits. Whether it is an introductory video of your business or motion video clips relevant to your business, adding video backgrounds can definitely make your overall website design look impressive and help in website branding. Backnegative’s website uses clean and engaging video backgrounds really well to tell brand stories.

Push the Boundaries with Your Website Background

Hope this article helps you find inspiration to try something different. Sometimes it pays to take an unorthodox approach with background designs for your website. Are you ready to push some website background boundaries with bright colors, cool geometry, minimal styles, asymmetrical patterns, motion background and abstract art?

automated ssl

The Importance Of Automated SSL Encryption

When you put your credit card number into a website for an online transaction, surely you know to look for signs of a secure website such as the padlock icon in the web browser or the green address bar.  This is one way to protect yourself from others breaking in to your data. Google, Mozilla, and other major browsers are on a mission to make insecure HTTP a thing of the past. Google has made HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) and website loading speeds major ranking factors.  HTTPS uses a connection encrypted by transport-layer security to protect transmitted data from eavesdropping. Most browsers like Firefox and Chrome now prominently show ‘Not Secure’ warnings in the address bar and warnings also appear directly below form fields on pages using HTTP. These changes show that HTTPS is now a necessity for all sites, because of its privacy and security benefits.

Businesses depend upon SSL certificates to encrypt data and authenticate both internal and external systems and applications to ensure appropriate access. By having websites and endpoints on the Web configured with a SSL certificate, users are assured that the endpoint has been authenticated and any communication with these sites over the HTTPS protocol is encrypted. Complete encryption of data transfer with Secure Socket Layer certificates (SSL certificates) is quickly becoming the norm throughout the Internet.

The Need For Automated SSL Encryption

SSL certificates are used not just for browser-based security but also for secure server-to-server communication for applications and data exchange. The implementation of SSL certificates is rarely automated which means trying to recall special commands, going over steps to renew and deploy a certificate and then tackling complicated installation processes, which can be tricky even for experienced website administrators. The consequences of improperly configured or expired certificate can be disastrous for an organization amounting to financial losses, fines for non-compliance, and lower productivity.

All SSL digital certificates have a lifecycle anywhere between one and three years and upon expiration are not considered valid. SSL certificates need to be renewed at the end of their life to avoid outages, service disruption and security concerns. Sometimes certificates may also need to be replaced earlier (e.g., bugs, end-of-life of SHA-1 hashing, change in company policy). Keeping certificates up to date, especially when maintaining a multitude of servers can be really annoying. Moving to an automated SSL certificate lifecycle processes takes out the need to rely on manual processes; it takes the guesswork out to improve efficiency and reduce security risks for your business. cPanel addresses the pain point of SSL installation and renewal through the AutoSSL feature.

Fully Automated SSL Encryption With AutoSSL

cPanel, Inc., has recently added a feature called AutoSSL (automated SSL) to automatically provision, issue, configure and install validated SSL certificates to its web hosting partners’ websites. Automated SSL also enables SSL on admin-based logins, email and internally running services in cPanel. AutoSSL is now available to all cPanel web hosting accounts and those running WHM version 60 or later. It is possible to view the logs for AutoSSL right from the WHM interface. AutoSSL automatically includes corresponding www. domains for each domain and subdomain in the certificate. But AutoSSL only includes domains and subdomains that pass a Domain Control Validation (DCV) test as proof of ownership of the domain.

Take The Hard Work Out With Automated SSL Encryption

With AutoSSL enabled, there is no need to fill out lengthy forms and no more having to manually copy certificates into place.  Your websites are automatically secured and encrypted with free Domain Validated SSL certificate and your coverage never lapses. A cronjob handles the request, download and installation of new SSL certificates around expiration time for all of your hosted domains.

Secure Your Website With Automated SSL Encryption

Users will enjoy a more streamlined experience, with fully automatic issuance, renewal, validation and setup of SSL certificates for all websites, logins and endpoints on the server. An automated SSL encryption system eliminates common human errors in the process, which may be caused by the system admin or anyone installing the certificate. Automated SSL encryption improves the privacy, security and trust of websites for the end users because there will be no lapse in a valid certificate.

end of flash

The Beginning Of The End For Flash

Adobe made an announcement that it will stop updating and distributing the once -ubiquitous multimedia plugin- Flash Player– by the end of 2020. The two-decade long reign of Flash will finally come to an end three years from now. Until that time, Adobe will continue to partner with Apple, Mozilla, Microsoft and Google to offer security updates for Flash in their browsers, including security patches. But beyond that, Adobe will not offer any new Flash features. According to Govind Balakrishnan, the VP of Product Development, Adobe will also be more aggressive in ending support for Flash in places “where unlicensed and outdated versions of Flash Player are being distributed.”  This move is hardly surprising given that Flash and its outdated versions quickly became a prime target for hackers because of its wide distribution, and security vulnerabilities, which allowed easy access into their target’s machines. Flash today is considered a security risk and major source of browser crashes.

The Legacy Of Flash

Flash emerged in the late 1990s, and its popularity rose shortly after Microsoft’s Internet Explorer became the default browser in the world’s most widely used operating system. Flash creator Macromedia, was acquired by Adobe in 2006. At a time when all you could find on a webpage was low resolution GIFs or blinking text, Flash allowed designers and developers to make web-based video, animated, and interactive content that would work on any computer or browser. Quirky Flash-based cartoons (Homestar Runner) and video games (QWOP) were a far cry from the traditional media seen so far. In fact the gaming site Kongregate still has more than 100,000 Flash games  Flash has been a website workhorse, making it easy to play online games, stream radio station music and watch YouTube videos. It also allowed people to build features like photo galleries, use webcams for video chat and a whole array of multimedia features. The legacy of Flash is its profound and positive impact on advancing creative content on the web in the internet era.

The Long Road To The End For Flash

The Flash Player loads Flash content in a web browser and ensures that the content looks and behaves the same way for anyone who loads it, regardless of the type of browser or computer being used. But advancing technologies are now capable of running natively in web browsers which has made that same plugin requirement a liability.

The earliest signal of the big fall for Flash came in 2004, when three browser makers — Mozilla, Apple and Opera Software, launched a group to advance core technologies for HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) to build websites. Instead of proprietary softwares they wanted industry standards. But the World Wide Web Consortium, wasn’t interested in their proposal and thus Flash continued its successful run.

But the first nail in the coffin was struck in 2007, when Apple decided not to support it in the newly introduced iPhone. Keeping mobile web in mind and the emergence of the fifth version of HTML that promised to replace some of the functionality Flash provided, developers began moving away from Flash and toward HTML5 and JavaScript. Steve Jobs published his thoughts on Flash in 2010 to further cement HTML5 as the new standard. Rather than use Flash, Apple adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript—all open standards that web browsers could build on. But Flash still remained integral to the web and was used to create native apps for iOS.  But now even video streaming sites such as YouTube, Dailymotion and Vimeo have made HTML5 the default video player.

Countdown to 2020- What To Expect?

Chrome: began asking permission to run Flash on some websites since 2015, and it’ll do so more often now.  Since end of 2016, Flash is allowed by default only on 10 websites including its own YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.  It will disable Flash by default by 2019.

Firefox: will ask you the sites you want to enable Flash on and it’ll disable Flash altogether by default in 2019. There will be lingering support in Firefox’s Extended Support Release through the end of 2020.

Edge: This Microsoft’s browser uses a click-to-play option for when you want to run Flash on a website, which will continue through mid-2018. After that Edge will be more aggressive about requiring you to authorize Flash. And in 2019, Microsoft will disable Flash by default, and by the end of 2020, Flash will be disabled completely.

Safari:  Apple’s Safari has blocked Flash from running since 2016 but you can re-enable it on websites that offer to download Flash.

Facebook: Facebook hosts a lot of Flash based games, including FarmVille and Words with Friends, which will run on Facebook until the end of 2020. But in a blog post it has urged developers to follow the timelines set by browsers.

Adobe meanwhile has renamed the software for making Flash, Flash Professional CC to Animate CC, which will be its “premier web animation tool for developing HTML5 content. Adobe is also pushing developers to migrate their content to open formats like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly. HTML5 has slowly and surely replaced Flash Player as a viable alternative for delivering content on the web.  Most browser vendors have integrated functionalities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and since HTML5 is built into most of the big name browsers already, there is no need to install anything to use it.

There is no need to spill tears over the demise of the pioneering software. Rather it is more appropriate to rejoice that Adobe is finally ready to help usher in the next era of digital content creation.

Web Applications

Understanding Web Applications

Without even knowing it, most of us are using web applications on a daily basis.  In fact, Gmail and Yahoo email, Twitter, Facebook, and eBay are used by most of us daily—and they are web applications. We generally confuse these web applications tools for websites.  So, what is a web application and how is it different from a website? What are some different types of web applications?  We will help you decipher which is best for the business functions you want to achieve- a website or a web application.

Website vs. Web Application

The best way to elucidate the difference between websites and web applications is to think in terms of purpose.  Do you want to provide information or do you want to get it?

Websites are simple, static, single page sites or marketing websites for distributing information. Websites generally feature and promote products, services, and organizations through articles, images, video, and files. A site informs the world about who you are and what you offer. For instance, you can check your local Italian restaurant website as a customer to check out the ‘Day’s Special,’ or hours of operation without giving away any information about yourself.

Web applications on the other hand are less focused on marketing and more on functionality to fulfill specific business purpose (submitting, storing, searching, and retrieving data). Web applications are software that runs on the web to provide some kind of service or to improve efficiency. Web applications generally always use databases, and are therefore called dynamic. It requires user interaction, as in the user has to provide information in order for the application to work. The big advantage of a web application is that it does not need the developer to build a client for a specific type of computer or a specific operating system because it runs in a web browser. Users can even be using Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox, though some web applications may require a specific Web browser.

An Example:

Think of the website of your bank, which promotes the brand and provides customers vital information about their services, and security features. Any member of the public can view the bank’s website but for account holders, the bank also offers web application tools focused on providing specific functionalities. For instance, to help check the balance on their account, submit an online loan application form, or pay bills online.

Technical Foundation

Websites and web applications both are collections of programming code for delivery of content and functionality on the web. The software run on web servers and is accessed through web browsers on a variety of devices.  Both use the same coding languages and tools (HTML, JavaScript, CSS and others) to develop the software. Web applications commonly use a combination of server-side script (ASP, PHP, or Python etc) to deal with databases, storing and retrieving information and client-side script (HTML, Javascript, CSS and others etc.) to present that information, along with frameworks like Rails, Django, etc. to develop and maintain the application.

Types Of Web Applications

There are three different types of web-based applications depending on the roles performed and logic placed and distributed by the server and the client browser.

Server-side HTML Web Application- In this type of web development architecture, the server generates HTML content and sends it to the client as a full-fledged HTML-page.

JS Generation Widgets (AJAX)- The page displayed in the browser shows widgets, where data is uploaded through AJAX query from the server into the content of the page. Any updates from the server show up only for the part of the page requested by the client.

Service-oriented Single-page Web Apps– An HTML-page is downloaded from the server, which acts as a container for JavaScript code to address a particular web service and retrieve business data only. The data is used by the self-sufficient JavaScript application, which generates the HTML content of the page.

It’s also possible to implement hybrid architecture to meet specific business requirements. The architecture of this collection of logically related interactive functions can consist of a number of components, including-

  • Business application functionality
  • Security
  • Browsers such as Internet Explorer
  • E-Mail functionality
  • Forums or bulletin boards
  • Custom-built Advertising

Web Applications Are The Future

Web apps can be customized and tailored for business purposes, like accounting software, reminder systems, order forms, and sales tracking for time saving efficiencies. Web applications can also be designed to strengthen both internal and external communication and improve data delivery and distribution. Advanced web applications are now available as online portals and eCommerce, which delivers content and the functionality of searching, adding to cart, and online financial transaction.

Most business owners understand the value of websites in their marketing plan but not many know the benefits of web applications and how they can offer stronger products and services, improve SEO, reduce cost significantly and help expand their business. Ultimately, whether you choose a website or a web application depends on your assessment of what you want to achieve.

mobile marketing

7 Phenomenal Mobile Marketing Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind

With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets in today’s digital market, there are endless opportunities for businesses to reach out to their target audiences. To cash in on the huge mobile market, the focus for every business should firmly be on implementing a well-documented mobile marketing strategy. If you are unsure of what impact mobile is having on your business today and will continue to have well into the future, all you need to do is look at the statistics in this article. Savvy marketers should be monitoring the changes behind how much mobile media is consumed daily, the proliferation of mobile apps, how users behave in digital media, and their response to commercial advertisements. Get ready for a record growth year for the mobile market!

  1. 80% Of Internet Users Own A Smartphone Gadget (Smart Insights)

The smartphone has now become an extension of us and our lives. Voice calling and texting are passé; users prefer to check out videos, consume media, shop online, use mobile apps, reply to emails and browse the net on smartphones. According to StatCounter, for the first time in October 2016, more users globally accessed the internet through mobile devices than via desktops. Smartphones and tablets accounted for 51.3 percent of internet usage worldwide in comparison to 48.7 percent for the desktop. This is good news for businesses with mobile friendly sites and content.

  1. Mobile Devices Will Drive 80% Of Global Internet Usage and 60% of Digital Ad Spend Will Be On Mobile By 2018 (Zenith)

Advertising effectively communicates the brand’s message to its audience. Today, most advertisements happen online and most companies are spending more on digital mediums than traditional platforms such as print media, television, and outdoor advertising. Forecasts from Zenith confirm that 75% of global internet usage will be on mobile this year, which will grow to nearly 80% by next year. Global internet ad expenditures will reach $134 billion in 2018, and mobile advertising will overtake desktop advertising too. Mobile advertising has been the biggest growth driver in the U.S. in 2016, mopping up nearly half of all digital ad revenues. Mobile advertising will account for 72% of the entire US digital spending by 2019, which is way more than newspaper, magazine, cinema, and outdoor advertising put together. If this trend continues, and we have no reason to believe that it won’t, desktops may soon be relegated to being an old tactic soon.

  1. Mobile-influenced Offline Spending Already Over $1 trillion (Forrester)

According to U.S. government estimates, the offline retail spending is well over $4.5 trillion, whereas e-commerce sales stands at $354 billion in 2016  But in-store spending influenced by digital media stands between $1 and $2+ trillion. And it is projected that by 2021, mobile devices alone will power $1.4 trillion in local sales. People do heavy mobile research before indulging in offline purchasing in almost all categories. Data from Marketing Land show that 90% of smartphone owners use their phones while making purchasing decisions in a brick and mortar store.

  1. 48% Of The Buyers Use Smartphones To Start Searching With a Search Engine (Google Research)

A large number of consumers browse the web and search on multiple devices daily but mobile remains the dominant platform for searches. In fact, 39% of users perform search only on a mobile device and 32% search only on a PC. This is what makes Google’s cross-device retargeting capabilities so important for advertisers. 48% of mobile consumers begin their search at the search engine to compare different brands in the product line. And, Icebreaker Consulting found that almost 40% of searchers will click on another website almost immediately, if your site is not mobile friendly. In order for users to find your brand in search results, you need to think about how best to optimize your content for search engines and your target audience alike, as it can have a huge impact on your sales.

  1. 68% Of Digital Media Time Is Now Spent On Mobile (comScore)

The comScore Mobile App report shows that over 68% of our digital media time is spent on mobile, which is up from 44% roughly a year ago and half of all that digital media time is spent on mobile apps. The desktop only gets 32% of our online attention. It is obvious that even in our cross-platform world, mobile is without a doubt No.1, with mobile devices more often being used at the “top of the funnel.” With the shift in digital media time from desktop to mobile devices, it will no longer do to treat mobile as a supplement to the PC experience. Businesses now have to deliver a good mobile experience for propagating positive brand perceptions.

  1. Apps Get 89% Of Mobile Media Time While 11% Of The Time Is Spent On Websites. (Smart Insights)

Consumers spend most of their mobile time with a limited number of heavily used apps. Consumers love mobile apps that provide engaging media and interaction. It seems like shoppers prefer apps to websites when getting information about products.  The information on mobile apps has to be concise and relevant to what the buyers need. It is now possible to publish an app at an affordable price therefore businesses are keen on creating a mobile app experience for their customers to deliver a fulfilling brand experience to them so they keep coming back. The business website can be focused on marketing while the app on user interaction.

  1. By 2018, 80% Of Email Users Will Use A Mobile Device To Access Their Email Accounts (Email Monday)

Email provides businesses a personal and direct communication channel. By 2018 more than 80% of users will read and send emails using smartphones so it important to make sure all emails are optimized for mobile platforms. Your emails should be clearly readable and display your brand effectively. Most people check their email, read newsletters, and go over the latest news in apps. In their 2014 study, ExpressPigeon noted that half of all mobile owners check push notifications and email first thing in the morning after turning off the alarm. Marketers can use email marketing in line with client behavior patterns, as a valuable tool to reach out to mobile users. According to statistics by Email Monday email open rates on a mobile device has increased by 180% in the last three years. Email marketing can help initiate engagement to guide your customer’s next course of action.  All you need to do is give them a reason to open your emails. And that means never sending spammy emails.

Go Mobile

Consumers love the convenience of a mobile marketplace. To capture user interest, it is obvious that your business needs to position your brand better on mobile platforms. Really there is no excuse to ignore mobile marketing any longer! If you need help developing a mobile marketing plan for 2017, why not reach out to Global Directive today? We turn opportunities into success stories.

 

This is a guest blog written by Michelle Keyser, Director of Social Media and Content Marketing, at DirectiveGroup, a digital marketing agency, where she is a strategist and blog contributor. Contact them today for more information by calling 1.866.925.9524

secure socket layer

Securing Your Website With SSL Certificate

The Internet has made sending and receiving information online a breeze. But there is also the threat of unauthorized viewing, data tampering, and phoney messages. Surprisingly, a lot of business owners do not fully understand how to use security tools at their disposal to keep cybercriminals and hackers at bay. It can be a real challenge to know where to start, when you are defending against malicious code that can damage your system and against cyberthieves on the lookout for sensitive data to sell on the black market. One thing every business can do to protect their website and customers is to use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, particularly if they run an e-commerce site or collect personal customer information through their site.

What Is SSL?

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is the most widely used Internet security protocol used today. This encryption technology protects your sensitive information as it travels between the visitors’ web browser and the web server of the website they are interacting with. This secure link ensures that all data is transmitted without being intercepted by prying hackers.

SSL encrypts all data before it is sent so that no one besides you and the website you’re submitting the information to, can see and access what you type into your browser. Random characters are inserted into the original information to make it incomprehensible for anyone without the proper encryption key. Therefore, if it does fall into the wrong hands there is nothing to worry about since the information is unreadable.

SSL Certificate Basics

When you visit a website that has an SSL certificate issued by a trustworthy authority, your browser (i.e. Internet Explorer®, Firefox® and Chrome™) will form a connection with the webserver, recognize the SSL certificate, and then connect your browser and the server so that confidential information can be exchanged.

To enable SSL on your site, you need to get an SSL Certificate that identifies you and install it on your web server. The SSL certificate must also be digitally signed by another trusted root certificate to prove that the SSL certificate provider can be trusted. Business owners can get standard and extended certificates along with tools to manage multiple certificates or security challenges.

Steps For Getting A SSL Certificate

Once you have selected Certification Authority vendor, send a request for certification and pay for the certificate.

Every CA will provide a Certification Practice Statement (CPS) with more specific information about their verification process and how long it will take to receive approval, depending on the complexity of your organization and the type of certification applied for. Business owners then have to go through various stages of vetting before they can install the certificate on their site and connect to a secure server on the web.

When the SSL Certificate is installed properly, you can access a site instantly by changing the URL from http:// to https://. The secure connection happens instantly and technically.

How Can Consumers Tell if a Website is Certified?

SSL is a transparent protocol which requires no interaction from the end user. Users can verify whether the web address in their browser displays a padlock, or, in the case of Extended Validation SSL, if there is both a padlock and a green bar. This assures visitors that the site is SSL certified and that your connection is automatically secured.

How Can SSL Be Used For Business?   

The most common applications of SSL are to secure payment transactions, system logins, email, data transfer, and any other sensitive data exchanged online.

If your organization has to comply with regional, national or international regulations, such as Payment Card Industry compliance, on data privacy and security then you will need an SSL certificate with the proper encryption. EV SSL provides advanced security measures to deal with the bigger risks that come with e-commerce today.

SSL is critical for protecting sensitive information such as customer names, phone numbers, addresses and credit card numbers. It also defends your site from malware and prevents malvertising from eating into your resources.

SSL secures webmail and helps establish secure connection between an email client such as Microsoft Outlook and an email server such as Microsoft Exchange.

SSL can also be used to secure intranet based traffic such as internal networks, extranets, and database connections. It also helps transfer of files over https and FTP(s) services safely.

Future-Proof Your Site With SSL Certificate

Online businesses can gain and retain their customer’s trust by getting SSL certification.  Lunarpages offers free dedicated  SSL certificate  and dedicated IP’s with all of our business plans or you can get a Dedicated SSL certificate on your account. Shared SSL certificate will function only with HTML, and cgi/perl based documents/scripts/carts but it will not work with ASP, JSP or PHP pages because of security restrictions on the servers. For that you will need to purchase a Dedicated SSL Certificate and Dedicated IP. If you’re still unsure about how SSL will affect your website, contact Lunarpages at 1-877-586-7207 (US/Canada) to know more.

website banner ideas

Ideas For Designing Website Banner Ads

We come across banner ads everywhere, so much so that they have become intrinsically linked with our web experience. Banner ad clicks may be dropping but we can’t afford to ignore the power of this prolific online advertising format in spreading the brand message to a large audience. Just seeing a web banner ad creates recall and user preference for that product or service. But our senses get assaulted every day with some really obnoxious examples of banner ad designs so it is time to turn the tide. Lunarpages would like to arm you with some basic design guidelines so that you can create web banners that will make a favorable impression and bring in clicks.

Apply Standard Banner Sizes

Banner ads work within the specs of the site where you plan to advertise. And since most sites use a set of common sizes, it is advisable to design in the size you will use the most. Google AdWords, lists the most popular standard banner ad sizes on the web as –

  • 728 by 90 pixels for leaderboard at the tops or bottoms of pages
  • 300 by 250 pixels medium rectangle, either embedded in text elements or floating on the right
  • 336 by 280 pixels large rectangle
  • 300 by 600 pixels half page
  • 320 by 100 pixels mobile banner

You can take elements from the design in your most preferred banner size and reflect it in other sizes too. When you don’t take the time to resize or recreate your ad specific to the networks specs, your creatives become distorted and displeasing to the eyes of your target market.  Check out the banner ad for FatCow to see how your layout can work for a number of different banner sizes.banner sizes

Create Hierarchy

All banner ads need to have a brand logo, clear message within 2-10 words about your offer  (High quality, Free Signup, Limited Time Only) and encouragement to click (Watch Now, Click Here, etc). The real challenge lies in the fact that there is not much room to do this so there has to be a right balance between these elements. Create a simple hierarchy of elements using size, space and color to draw attention to each.jumpcloud

This banner ad from JumpCloud showcases the company logo first, followed by the value proposition which calls attention to itself and the CTA button is smartly placed right at the bottom inviting clicks.

Pair Stylistic Typography With Images

Banner ads only have small spaces to play around with so make the most of it by using strong, easy to read typefaces with striking images. Make sure to use tight images and detail shots as there is a lot of competition for eyeballs. This banner ad by Cavender’s pairs playful text, handwritten type and great photography to effectively announce the brand and product.

Use Colors And Texture Appropriately

Color is generally the first thing we notice in banner ads. Different colors have distinct associations, and your choice of color will depend on the kind of emotions you want to evoke in your audience. Look up this great resource on color theory to know how best to use color in ads. Banner ads do not always have to be subtle so feel free to use contrasting and bold colors to draw the eye in. In this banner ad, the bright yellow rectangle ties in with the National Geographic logo and is highlighted even more against a black or blue background. The yellow CTA reinforces the brand and also invites quick action.nationalgeographic

Incorporating texture within a banner ad can also create interesting dimensions, movement and depth to drive home the brand image. Check out the unique geometric polygon pattern in the limes of this ad for Corona by Vasiliy Yusov. The angularity of the fruit adds in dimension and edge to the product being advertised that you just wouldn’t get from a simple image or illustration.

Incorporate Stylized Illustration

Adding in illustration to your web banner ads can be simple or detailed depending on the message you are trying to deliver. Illustration can often speak volumes, especially if you add in animation to it. Illustration can be edgy and modern or fun and playful. Adidas ran a Line Runner sidebar ad campaign where the viewer was provided a black pen and prompted to draw a line which became a course for the runner with trees, buildings, hills, lamp posts popping up for an interactive digital adventure.

Focus On The Product

The ultimate goal of an ad is to sell so it helps to shine the light on the product. Tell your story using the product. Ikea is known for its space-conscious furniture and it highlighted this point by making the most of banner ad real estate too. Hovering over the ad would bring a product into focus and a click would send the person to the site to purchase.

Better Banners

Banner ad placements can certainly help users connect with your brand. And following some of these design guidelines will definitely improve your click-through rate and help you achieve your campaign goals.

wordpress seo

Top WordPress SEO Tips To Stay Ahead Of The Competition In 2017

What is the point of having a beautifully designed WordPress website without any traffic? It is possible to skyrocket traffic on your site and dominate your competition through search engine optimization. If you believe that “SEO is dead,” then you may have already lost the SERPs game. With the Google Panda update, Google may have brought down the hammer on black-hat methods and loopholes but white-hate SEO practices are still encouraged. The SEO landscape is constantly evolving and the goalposts may have changed but it certainly is not dead. Organic search is alive and well. Knowing what notable search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing care more about can help your business take unique approaches to ensure a perfect search-engine optimized website that is focused on; clean code, keywords, alt tags, XML sitemaps, links, good content and more. If you’re running a WordPress-based site, you do not have to scratch your head anymore about what to do from an SEO standpoint. In this post we are going to share the top trends in WordPress SEO to help improve your visibility in search engines page results for a winning play in 2017.

WordPress Search Engine Optimization Trends In 2017

Avoid cutting corners and taking back alleys for better and faster ranking. Also remember that search engine optimization is more than a plugin; it is a continuous process. So, even though you can use popular WordPress SEO plugins like, WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin or All-In-One SEO Pack to get the work done, you also need to put in effort to analyze and improve the optimization of your WordPress site. The aim of all SEO strategies is to deliver a high-quality web experience with interesting and relevant content. Here are some of the SEO trends that you can use to come out on top in the New Year.

SEO HTTPS For WordPress

From 2017, Google has made HTTPS mandatory for all websites, including WordPress powered websites. Because of the aggressive push from Google in the direction of secured websites, it may be more work for website developers but it will ensure better security for users. If you are building a new WordPress site in 2017, you should implement HTTPS for your WordPress site before launching because switching from HTTP to secure versions or HTTPS is not easy.

Setup Pretty Permalinks

Permalinks are the unique addresses of your website pages, blog posts, images, etc. For SEO purposes, your permalink structure should be readable so that crawlers can easily access your website’s content. By default, WordPress creates permalinks (URL structure) that are not efficiently set up for SEO. It currently inserts the day and name into the URL by default, which makes it seem dated to Google. There is a need to adjust the URL to post name manually to maximize the potential of your website for SEO. Google prefers URLs that contain your title and or keywords in the post, and shorter URLs fare better. Although (Post Name) is an ideal option, some prefer using (Category Name) though there may be issues with optimization of contents of categories in the latter case. The “Post name” permalink setting is both clean and you can reap the benefit of using the title or your keyword in the URL If you are changing the permalink structure after your posts go live, all your previous links will be useless so make sure to redirect previous URLs to the new permalink by editing the .htaccess file or through a third party plugin like Change Permalink Helper.

Links Help

Search engines rank authoritative domains higher and the best way of building this authority is through quality organic links. This will remain highly important through 2017 and you must work hard on building your links strategy.

· Canonical URL

Canonical links are important in building smart link hierarchy for search engines indexing the same content that is available under different URLs.

· Affiliate Links

Affiliate links help track a commission or referral of product/services or signup between websites. Since Google generally frowns upon affiliate links, they should always be nofollow. Nofollow links do not give your website any link juice, but can still generate natural traffic. Use a WordPress affiliate plugin such as Pretty Links to track your affiliate links and make sure they are nofollow.

· Interlinks

Work on adding more internal links between one page of blog post, or even a product page to another on the same site. This will ensure that you keep the users within your site for longer thus spreading link juice throughout your site. It helps to establish hierarchy of information and structure within your site. Moreover the Google spiders should have a clear way to reach the internal links so make sure to reline all possible related pages.

· High Domain Authority External Links

Work on adding some external links to high domain authority sites within your content to improve your WordPress SEO. This helps Google know that you are linking to an external high quality content to provide users with additional information. You can make the link open in a new tab or window so that people can come back and browse your site later on if needed.

Evergreen Quality Content

Even in 2017, content will still be king. Search engines and users love high-quality content and longer-form content. To be able to rank high on the search engine pages, you need to ensure that your top articles are detailed and contain the right keywords, including long-tail keyword variations. Check out Neil Patel’s article on how long-form content can boost your SERPs. But there is a place for short posts like reviews and other brief articles too, as long as the content is well-researched and appealing. It is hard to overestimate the importance of evergreen content for the website SEO as it stays relevant for a longer period of time and keeps delivering new traffic and social shares. WordPress offers plenty of resources to help improve your content and make it more optimized for the search engines, such as the Readability option of the Yoast SEO plugin.

Website Speed

Website speed is hugely important when it comes to WordPress SEO. Page speed matters to visitors and search engines alike. Website owners have less than 5 seconds to engage visitors before they abandon the site and over 74% of users accessing the mobile site will click out if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load. The best way to fix this is by using a fast such as Lunarpages, implementing a Content Delivery Network like MaxCDN or Photon option from Jetpack , and optimizing your site to boost page speed accordingly. For example, by using cache plugins for a WordPress powered site, such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.

WordPress- The Only Way Up

SEO trends keep growing quickly but you do not have to spread your resources for everything all at once. Just keep up with the current trends, and filter out the rest to build your SEO strategy slowly. Follow simple steps like embracing Google Analytics for tracking your performance, changing the default media settings, focusing on updating and enhancing the quality of your content to make your WordPress site rank high in search engines.

Most web hosts offer some form of optimized or managed WordPress services with site-friendly features, including automatic data backups, page caching, and automatic CMS updates. You can get online support 24/7/365 via the Lunarpages Help Desk or check out our WordPress tutorial guide for beginners.

WordPress Design Trends

WordPress Design Trends For 2017

WordPress is an incredible Content Management System for website content creation and design, cornering over 59% of the market share. WordPress-based websites are more dynamic with built-in blogging features, news feeds, sliders, ability to re-design ‘on the fly’ and easy interactive social media integration. Design choices are a vital part of every web development project and your layout is just as important as elegant code, so be sure to have an outstanding WordPress web design expert to maximize returns on your investments. In 2016, new web trends such as hamburger menus and one-page themes relegated old styles such as sidebars and sliders to obscurity. While some of the most popular WordPress design trends of last year will still influence web fashion in 2017—including mobile-friendly designs, vertical split screen, custom illustrations, extraordinary navigation, bold typography and more—it is time to embrace the latest design trends too. WordPress is only getting better with fantastic new features and improvements. Following some simple design rules can turbo-charge the overall design sensibility of your WordPress website in 2017 to make your website discernible from the competition.

Get To Know Current Design Trends

Research and analyze major design trends to stay current and create visual engagement. There is the effective motion design technique of parallax scrolling for added depth and infinite scrolling which have become popular because of the scroll-heavy design trend in favor at the moment. Instead of flipping from page to page, readers can scroll through the site, reducing the number of clicks needed for the user to get the information they need. Parallax creates visual interest in the page design. Another trend that is gaining popularity is material design, which is an effort by Google focused on a mobile-first approach. The idea is to provide a seamless design experience across platforms, products and services. Then there is the card-based design which emphasizes the eye-catching visual display of condensed information to draw in readers.

Importance Of Stylized Fonts

The days of limited fonts are thankfully gone and improved browser support for web fonts means that the focus is firmly on fonts, font sizes and font styles. The ideal stylized fonts and font sizes should draw attention to the content itself and it should suit the overall design of your site. No more safe and boring Comic Sans, Times New Roman and Georgia. Designers are flexing those design muscles to find the perfect font that will make the text in your site more interesting. The way we view text on the web is changing with easily accessible web fonts from Google Fonts, FontArk or Typekit. The coming year will be about making a strong statement with dramatic fonts such as Matthew Butterick’s Typography for Lawyers.

Mobile Usability

Mobile is the future, with more people already using mobile devices to browse the web than desktop devices makes mobile optimization no longer optional, but rather required. Even Google just announced testing of mobile-first websites in November 2016. Google algorithms will soon be indexing content primarily using the mobile version of a site to rank pages. So having a responsive site design is of utmost importance. Check to see if your WordPress site passes the test using Google’s mobile-friendly tool. Mobile-first WordPress themes that are fully responsive and optimized for all mobile devices will be popular in 2017.

Vibrant Hand-drawn Iconography and Illustrations

Icon trends this year will directly impact web design especially WordPress design trends. So, put your sketching skills to use in website design framework—from the site’s background to hand-drawn icons or other web design elements. Vibrant and bold illustrations can be really effective as contrast against clean and simple typography. How about adding a touch of whimsy to your otherwise formal site with illustrated outline icons? Designers also prefer using hand-drawn illustration for Call to Action pointers such as ‘Contact Us’ as a contrasting visual lead-on to increase conversions. This style works seamlessly with almost any design.

Video Headers

WordPress recently introduced Twenty Seventeen in 4.7 or “Vaughan,” as the first default theme for business websites. This new theme has four customizable panels on the front page for displaying content, custom logo upload and extends the Custom Header feature to introduce core support for video headers. Video headers are decorative header images with motion. They play automatically and loop by default. Video headers and video backgrounds have been around in the web design industry but it was rarely seen on WordPress themes. But WordPress developers are now looking to adopt this new WordPress design trends to attract the attention of visitors. Locally hosted mp4 and mov files, as well as YouTube videos, can be used for video headers by default, but it is possible to create custom video handlers for additional sources as well. 2017 will see more WordPress themes with video headers for an enhanced visual experience.

Multipurpose WordPress Themes

Multipurpose themes are going to get even more popular among WordPress users and developers in 2017. Multipurpose themes are extremely customizable and offer more freedom for users to build a more personalized theme for their websites no matter what type of brand, company, organization or cause it may be. WordPress theme frameworks, such as Genesis are set to become trendy. Check out some of the most popular multipurpose WordPress themes including Uncode, Impreze, Brooklyn, Kallyas or Kalium for unparalleled ease of use, flexibility and robust creative power.

What Else?

Designers continue to develop visually captivating and bold styles to convey the brand message, while improving ease of use for the visitor. These are just a few of the WordPress design trends that can help you build a modern and trendy personal or business website also there are may web builders available as plugins for WordPress such as Beaver Builder and Page Builder by SiteOrigin. If you think that there are other WordPress design trends or web design techniques that should have been mentioned in this post, please Tweet your reflections with us using @Lunarpages