From The Blog

Grab yourself a latte and browse some of the literary contributions from our team

Introducing Elevate for WordPress

We recently released our very first WordPress plugin, Elevate SEO. Using it, you can modify information on a per-post or per-page basis that will help you obtain a higher search ranking. It will also handle all the complicated meta data to make sure your website looks great when shared to various social media websites.

Dashboard within Elevate SEO

Dashboard within Elevate SEO

You can download Elevate today from the official Elevate for WordPress site, or from the free wordpress.org repository.

New Client Project: Humpback Swims

We recently helped internationally renowned photographer Nadia Aly revamp her tourism website, HumpbackSwims.com. When not travelling the world, Nadia leads Humpback whale tour groups in the country of Tonga; her website, humpbackswims.com, is the premiere portal in Tonga for booking groups of tours to swim with humpback whales.

We helped Nadia do a complete site refresh, restyling the majority of pages and implementing a new design that included large hero images on each page. We also created a custom booking engine within WordPress that simplifies the management of bookings and how many spaces are left in each tour group. The engine also ties into an external booking site where customers can book immediately online, which should hopefully minimize the workflow on the site going forward.

Nadia Aly, photo from HumpbackSwims.com

We had a lot of fun working on this project, and the end result speaks for itself. We wish Nadia all the best for her upcoming 2018 and 2019 seasons, and hope the website improvements help lead to even more success.

Project Gutenberg

For those of you who may not know, the team behind WordPress has been working hard for the last year or so on a brand new interface called Gutenberg. Gutenberg is a pretty revolutionary change for WordPress, with the primary goal being to replace the typical Page/Post editor with far more powerful editor that consists of independent blocks. The end result will be a more user friendly way to edit content, similar to what other website creation tools, such as Wix, employ.

To say it’s been a bit controversial would be an understatement. While many users of WordPress embrace change, this is a pretty fundamental shift in the platform itself, and it’s possibly going to create a lot of friction with current plugins and themes. That said, there are tremendous upsides in terms of content creation and additional possibilities with WordPress itself.

Here is the screenshot showing how editing a current post in WordPress looks like:

Editing this post with the current editor

Here is a view of what it looks like to edit this same posting using Gutenberg:

Editing this post with Gutenberg

While the official release of Gutenberg likely won’t happen until sometime during the first few months of 2018, it’s available as a plugin today to install and play around with. If you’d like to take a look, simply go to the plugins section of WordPress, click “Add New”, and type in Gutenberg.

Why Chilliwack?

A few people have asked me why I wanted to base a new web design and digital marketing agency in Chilliwack, of all places. The simple truth is that as someone who was born and raised here, it’s a place I’ve always really loved. While I’ve visited 38 countries and spent time living in many of them, there has always been something magical about this little Canadian mountain town.

My previous web venture was based out near Toronto. While I worked remotely or from Chilliwack, most of our clients were from out east. One of the main advantages of Lindell Media, and one that I’m looking forward to, is helping some of the talented business owners that have chosen to locate their businesses here as well. I’ve always imagined Chilliwack becoming a technology hub at some point, as it seems to have a nearly perfect blend of lifestyle, geography, and leisure activities, all of which would appeal to some of the larger technology companies.

So if you’re in or near Chilliwack and are looking for help designing, building or maintaining a website, online or social media presence, then get in touch with us via the menu up above and we will surely be able to help.

Why Your Website Needs To Be Secure

If you’ve ever visited a large corporate website (think Google, Twitter, or even your online bank), you’ve probably noticed the little lock icon in your browser window. What that means is that your connection is encrypted, and nobody (short of Chloe O’brian from 24) who intercepts the communication will be able to decipher it. That’s why you can put in your personal information, credit card numbers, etc., without worrying that someone else will possibly get a hold of them.

If you look up at the browser on this site, you’ll also notice the lock icon. This site, like most of the ones we develop, is configured to force this type of connection. Even thought we don’t typically deal with credit card information, we still deal with sensitive information – people who fill out the quote form, their budget, email addresses, etc. We feel like it’s important to make sure those are kept safe as well.

In 2014 Google went on record as saying it wanted all websites to be secure in the (near) future. To help push that change forward, they have indicated that soon they will start lowering the rank of websites in Google searches if their websites are not secure.

Certification from LindellMedia.com

Certificate and Browser Lock on LindellMedia.com

In an upcoming version of the Chrome browser, there is even an option to flag insecure websites and show them with a special icon indicating that they shouldn’t be trusted. Right now about two-thirds of the entire internet is still insecure, and those will be flagged and possibly de-ranked in the not too distant future.

The push for having a secure internet is hitting peak momentum now, with all US .gov sites mandated to have completed the conversion before the end of the year. Apple and Mozilla, two other internet giants, are also behind this massive push.

I’m Sold! Now What?

Unfortunately switching to a secure website isn’t always a straightforward endeavour.

First, on older websites, many of the links to images and other assets use http:// (insecure), and the browser will show a warning message (usually a broken lock) indicating that while the site is meant to be secure, it’s not entirely living up to that promise. Those links need to be converted into https://, or even better, // (which will use whatever the user types into the browser window, http:// for insecure connections and https:// for secure ones).

Second, you need to purchase and install a SSL certificate on the server. This certificate shows information about your business, the domain name, and contains the cryptographic information necessary to start an encrypted session on the internet. The problem is not all web hosting providers allow clients to install their own SSL certificates. The ones that do often require a unique IP address (which isn’t normal on most cheaper hosting plans, as they typically have hundreds of clients on the same physical server sharing the same IP). So this process often involves the web hosting provider, the person who manages your website, and a certificate authority (the company that issues and manages the certificates) like Namecheap.

The best option at this point involves use of the free Let’s Encrypt project, but unfortunately to make use of those certificates you need server access that is unavailable on most shared hosting providers. All of our premium WordPress hosting packages contain Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates installed by default, so you’d get that out of the box.

Google is rumoured to start de-ranking by the end of this year. If you have a website that’s insecure, you may want to move quickly on making it secure prior to these changes, otherwise you may risk losing traffic from Google. If you’d like to discuss what’s involved in making your site secure, get in contact with us.

The Importance of Having A (Good) Mobile Website

In 2015, Google made a big announcement – if you didn’t have a mobile website, they were going to lower your ranking and drive less traffic to your website. During that period of time previously, I saw a mad dash of website owners frantically trying to do whatever they could to make their website mobile-friendly before Google flipped the switch and de-ranked them.

If you are a business owner with a company website, losing any traffic at all can make the difference between having a profitable month or losing money. The good news is most (but not all) of the websites I encounter these days have a version of their website targeted towards mobile visitors. Some users have a theme that’s responsive (it adapts the look and feel of the website based on the visitor’s screen size), and others use custom plugins like WPtouch to obtain mobile-friendly status with Google. Both solutions work and are great, in theory.

The problems I see these days around mobile websites typically involve one of two groups. The first group are users who had a custom theme developed at some point, but haven’t updated it for mobile yet. Many of those sites simply show the desktop site for mobile visitors, which is a horribly poor experience and will undoubtedly result in a lowered Google rank for that site.

Google mobile-friendly test for this site, with a passing grade.

Google mobile-friendly test for this site, with a passing grade.

The second group of websites I see that need help are site owners who purchased a commercial WordPress theme that advertised a responsive mobile website, but then failed to evaluate their own mobile site once their custom content was added. Often the content they added completely broke the look and feel on mobile, leading to not only a diminished rank, but a poor end-user experience all around.

When we launch a new mobile website, we don’t just don’t evaluate it based on what we think, we also make use of the various public tools (such as Google’s own Mobile-Friendly test) to determine how well the mobile site performs. That way we can rest easy knowing that Google is happy with the mobile version of the site and will properly rank it going forward. As Google has adopted a mobile-first position nowadays, your mobile site really needs to be as polished as your desktop one going forward, and we take that responsibility seriously.

If you need a mobile website developed for your business, or want us to evaluate the current state of your mobile website, feel free to contact us and let us know how we can help.

Welcome To Lindell Media

Lindell Media is a full service web and digital marketing agency based near Cultus Lake, British Columbia, Canada. It was started by Duane Storey, one of the original co-authors of several popular WordPress plugins, including the WPtouch mobile theme (voted #1 for all of WordPress in 2009).

Duane brings his extensive web development and management experience to Lindell Media – the WordPress plugins he contributed to have been used by millions of people in over 100 countries around the world. Prior to dabbling in WordPress, Duane was one of the lead developers for the media engine that was ultimately licensed by companies such as Yahoo! for use in Yahoo! Messenger.

Lindell Media will be a trusted business partner for small to medium sized businesses looking to rebrand, to improve and manage their web and online presences, to grow their businesses, or to intelligently drive traffic to their websites and ultimately their business.

Our primarily focus will be on assisting small to medium sized businesses in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas of British Columbia, but as a web-based company we are happy to help anyone in any location.

If you have a project you would like to discuss with us, or would just like to say hello (we appreciate that as well!), please drop us a line.