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Category Archives: Web Development




Resource Cards Makes a Beautiful, Useful Dashboard for Designers

For designers, developers, Resource Cardsand artists, having a good pool of resources is essential to working efficiently. Some people like to use browsers’ bookmarking tools to help save their favorite sites, others simply rely on google searches. I’ve recently started turning to Resource Cards, a simple, no nonsense site with beautiful presentation and easy navigation to the content I need.

Resource Cards makes a nice homepage, with gentle yet distinct design. You are able to select from a large number of resource types, such as Photography (stock photos), Photoshop (PSD project files), and essentials such as fonts, icons, and color themes. There are also sections for WordPress, Bootstrap, HTML CSS & JS, and many more useful web tools.

When you select a category, Resource Cards pulls a list of reputable, mostly free (I haven’t paid for anything while I’ve been using it) providers of the files you’re looking for. You’re then taken to their sites so you can browse and look for exactly what you need, but Resource Cards is still just a back arrow away (much quicker than a new google search if you decide to go from Fonts to WordPress themes).

I set Resource Cards as my default homepage in my browser, so it’s always there when I start up a new window. check out Resource Cards at resourcecards.com and never waste time digging through search results for your design resources again.

Deer Valley Data Joins the Newtek Family of Companies

email_logoNTS

Greetings Deer Valley Data customers!

Newtek is pleased to announce that Deer Valley Data and its Atjeu brand have joined the Newtek Family of Companies.

If you’re not familiar with Newtek, you’ll be pleased to know that Newtek Technology Solutions is a leading managed technology and I.T. infrastructure company that has been around since 1997.

Newtek’s technology operations are based out of Phoenix, Arizona, and have a data center footprint — with redundancy and backup — in Arizona, New Jersey, Colorado, London, and Singapore.

Newtek is a profitable and publicly traded company that owns and manages over $350 million in assets, and has more than 100,000 business accounts in its portfolio. You may also find it refreshing that Newtek is a completely open and transparent company. You are invited to download and read Newtek’s financials by clicking here: Newtek Financials.

 

What Does This Mean For You?
First and foremost, we can assure you that you will only see an increase in quality of service, technical expertise, and innovation. Whether you are a Deer Valley Data, Atjeu, or Newtek customer, there will be no immediate change to the way business is transacted. You can continue to count on service and support from the same customer team and contacts that you currently have. In the coming weeks, we will keep you informed of our progress as the integration process evolves.

We will also be upgrading your co-located and hosted systems to our state-of-the-art, tier 3 data center facility. In short, your services will no longer encounter some of the power and network-attack issues you have experienced in the past.

 

Welcome to Our Team
A dedicated team from across the organization will ensure that the transition period is seamless for you while seeking new ways to improve overall service levels. Our customer relations representatives are standing by to explain our additional services and to assist you in getting the most from Newtek. You can reach us, day or night, at 1-866-820-8910 techsales@thesba.com.

And finally, your complete satisfaction is our first priority! We are delighted that you are now a part of Newtek and we want to hear from you. Should you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please contact a member of the integration team by sending an email to techsales@thesba.com and we will respond promptly.


What You Can Expect From Newtek:

World-class facility features
  • Dedicated humidification system that creates optimal hardware operation conditions
  • Advanced temperature controls that ensure servers are always running cool
  •  Advanced cooling systems that handle high level heat loads, doing much more than AC alone
  • Onsite, third-party security with around-the-clock surveillance
  • Man-trap entry point that features bulletproof glass and weight-measurement technology to deter unauthorized “piggy-baking” into the facility
  • State-of-the-art biometric retina scanning
Enterprise-class network & network security
  • Multimillion-dollar network infrastructure with complete network redundancy at all key points, from peers, border routers, core routers, and firewalls to ensure your services are always online.
  • Multiple Tier-1 connectivity providers with redundant 20 GigE connections for a superior level of thru-put and uptime (in comparison, the Deer Valley Data facility has a 1 GigE connection)
  • An advanced DDoS mitigation infrastructure that can handle large-scale attacks, mitigating the issue before it impacts services in our datacenter
Other benefits you will receive at Newtek include:
  • As a public company that manages assets in the financial and payments sector, you immediately receive the added security benefits as a result of our heavy compliance requirements. Newtek is SOX compliant, PCI Compliant, and maintains a SSAE 16 certification.
  • Newtek’s support team is staffed by tenured system administrators. Put simply, Newtek doesn’t believe in help desk-level support. When you call Newtek for technical assistance, you will speak with a real system admin who is empowered to resolve any of your issues. If you have any questions, call us at 1-866-820-8910.
  • Newtek is a solutions-based company that is committed to helping you grow your business, reduce costs, and minimize risk. Newtek is Your Business Solutions Company: a provider of Business Financial Solutions, Payment Processing Solutions, Managed Technology Solutions, and Payroll & Benefits Solutions. You can learn more at www.newtekone.com.

Google Releases New Mobile-Friendly Test Tool

Google has been working hard to get website owners to Mobile Phone Friendlyswitch their sites to mobile-friendly design. Since the update that factors mobile friendliness in search engine results, it has become more important for small businesses to keep their sites up to this standard. Google has provided a tool for several years to allow you to check to see if a site was mobile friendly, but they recently released a material design-influenced reiteration of it.

 

Trying really hard not to turn this into a UX blog, but once again an updated UI has made it easier to use and understand the information provided by the service. The tool itself is now mobile friendly, and matches the design of Google’s other applications.

Mobile Friendly Test

If you haven’t, check your site’s design at https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly and if you aren’t sure how to make the changes suggested, contact our specialists at 877-323-4678.

Have You Updated to WordPress 4.5?

The newest core version of WordPress is 4.5.1, but a staggering 80.9% of users are on versions 4.4 and lower. Along with the advantage of having up-to-date security and bug fixes, WordPress 4.5 arrived with a variety of new features to make editing, moderating, and managing your site easier.
This article will detail some of the big features of the new update, so read on if you’re unsure about updating!

Note: to update WordPress, you can do so through Softaculous in cPanel (if you’re on a Linux plan and installed WordPress through Softaculous). You can also download WordPress 4.5.1 and install it manually here.

Theme Logo Support

Some WordPress themes have allowed users to import their logo, and the theme handled placement and sizing etc. In WordPress 4.5, this is a core feature and instead of paying for a premium theme, users will be able to import their logos through the theme customizer.
Logo Support
Themes still need to support logos, but having this as a core feature will likely encourage theme developers to include it in their themes. Bringing your logo over across themes will be easier as well, as they’re saved in WordPress’s menu rather than the folder that the theme uses.

Improvements to Visual Editor

WordPress’ new features in the visual editor streamline the writing process. There have been some new shortcuts and improvements to existing shortcuts to make creating content even more enjoyable.

Inline Link Editor

The CTRL+K shortcut allows you to create a hyperlink on the text your cursor is currently on. With the 4.5 update, the window that used to pop up to edit the hyperlink is being replaced with an inline link editor. This makes the experience less abrasive and, from my observations, a bit faster.

Old Link Editor:
WordPress Link Editor Old
New Link Editor:
WordPress Link Editor New

Improved Comment Moderation

Filtering through spam comments is just one of the many joys that WordPress users experience when they post content to their blogs/sites. When you receive a comment on WordPress (pre-4.5), you receive an email with a link that takes you to a screen that lets you see the comment details and either approve or reject the comment from being posted. The screen is rather unsightly, showing html formatting as the actual code rather than the formatted text.

 

Moderate Comment 4.4 and 4.5

The 4.5 fixes this with support for formatted text in the moderation screen. You may also edit comments if you’re concerned about a comment containing contact information, language, or links that you might not want displayed on your site.

 

Responsive Previews

With the world moving towards mobile devices, responsive design is becoming increasingly prevalent across all of the internet. WordPress 4.5 gives you the ability to preview your site’s design on 3 different devices while working in the customizer. You can switch between the (general) aspect ratio and screen size of a desktop, tablet, and smartphone with a single click.

Responsive Preview WordPress 4.5

Responsive Image Scaling Improvements

WordPress has had built in image scaling (for scaling a picture from desktop screens to mobile without reducing quality) since 4.4. The 4.5 update improves upon this feature by allowing images to be scaled to as little as 50% of the original image size without any noticeable loss in quality

Why Linux?

If you’ve been dealing with websites or servers for Awesome-Tuxa substantial amount of time, you probably know which operating system you prefer. You know whether you should order Windows or Linux for various types of websites and applications, and you know the advantages of each. Unfortunately this level of knowledge can take years to accumulate and not everybody can spend the amount of time it takes to learn two server operating systems enough to know when to use which. Linux is the preferred environment for many developers, hosts, resellers, and businesses, and with good reason.

Languages

Linux allows developers to use PHP, Python, CGI and Pearl when building websites and applications. These are all very popular and will run better in Linux than in Windows. While a Windows environment allows for more exclusive programs such as ASP.NET, people generally prefer PHP based systems for sheer simplicity. WordPress, for example, is PHP based and uses a MySQL database. While WordPress can run in Windows, people can generally expect better performance out of a Linux environment.

Diversity

Linux is open source, which means the source code can be downloaded, modified, and published by anyone. This means people all over the world are able to build variations of Linux to suit different needs. Ubuntu, Red Hat, CentOS and SUE are some of the more popular distributions, which have very active communities supporting their users.

Security

Linux has always been known for being more secure than Windows. For people doing ecommerce, HIPAA compliant hosting, or anything that requires security (which, let’s face it, should be any website), Linux is the preferred OS almost universally.

Performance

Linux generally has lower system requirements, so there is more headroom to run the programs you want. If you’re running a dedicated server or VPS, this means you can get away with lower cost by saving on CPU and RAM. In a shared environment, Linux plans can come with better allocations and perform smoother than Windows systems.

If you’re unsure whether Linux is right for you, call a specialist or a developer to go over your site and see if you would benefit from making the switch. Our support and sales teams are always happy to answer your questions and make sure you’re on the ideal system for your hosted technology.

 

Adobe Experience Design CC Preview

Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications are a mainstay for designers and developers around the world. Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Illustrator help people create and publish graphics and websites, but there hasn’t ever been a product that focuses on user experience in the Creative Cloud. Project Comet was the codename for Adobe’s entry into the UX design world, and it now has an official title and preview available for Mac OS X. Say hello to Adobe Experience Design CC.
Adobe Experience Design Marquee
Experience Design (abbreviated as XD) is for creating a unique and powerful user experience in your site or application. While design is important for UX, a tool like Experience Design will focus more on the actual interaction with your design. XD comes with tools focusing on gestures, transitions, and elements for your app or website.

In the preview there are two tabs to work in: Design and Prototype. Adobe Experience Design IndexDesign is about building the pages, galleries, and content that your finished product will use. Prototype allows you to map out the navigation of your app. You can then share a live preview with anyone to try out your project, making it easy to get feedback.

Experience Design is in preview right now on Mac OS X, with a Windows preview coming soon. All of the features that will be in the final version are not available in the preview, but the roadmap on Adobe’s site is looking very promising. To keep up with new features or to get your preview of Experience Design CC, head to Adobe’s website.

Use Location-Based Mobile Marketing Services to Reach Local

location servicesHave you ever used your phone to find a place to grab a drink or dine while in an unfamiliar neighborhood? If you have, than you’ve used location-based services. This is a clever kind of mobile marketing that allows businesses to target local consumers. A location-based mobile marketing service allows small businesses to attract random passerbys by serving them with information about their business through search. Location-based mobile marketing is a powerful strategy that’s not only affordable, but also easy to do.

Any mobile strategy should begin with your company’s website. Content you post on your business site and associated social pages should be able to be consumed on various mobile devices. Why? Because web content recognized by Google’s search engine (which rewards mobile-friendly content!) will put your location on the map.

Start with the basics; make sure web content related to your business is correct and in order on search engines as well as on your company’s website. For example, your locations, hours of operation, products and/or menu items, parking instructions, etc. should all be easily searchable from a mobile device. When consumers use the web to search for information, they have a better chance of seeing your website if it’s correctly configured for mobile.

Another key component of a successful location-based mobile strategy is reviews. In addition to being the simplest marketing you can do, establishments with overwhelmingly positive reviews on Yelp and other mobile-first sites are proven to garner more business than those that do not. Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied customers to review your business, offer an incentive in exchange for their review. A special discount for customers who leave reviews provides for repeat business and a healthy digital reputation.

Small business owners must consider the impact that mobile marketing can have on sales and brand perception. A successful mobile strategy, one that incorporates location-based marketing services to reach a local audience, will reap major rewards.

Now Is the Time for Responsive Design

mobile-phonesBeginning April 21, Google will use mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in search results, rewarding websites that are fully optimized for mobile platforms.

Most modifications to the all-important Google Search Algorithm have only a low-weight impact on search results, however Google says the effect of this change will be profound. It is very important for any business owner with a website to respond accordingly.

Effective immediately, Google will also factor content from mobile apps (a feature called App Indexing) when rendering mobile search results. Android users who are signed into their Google account will begin to see apps more prominently in search listings.

These changes will make it easier for mobile users to find relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices, creating a better search experience. Google provides very clear recommendations on what you can do to make your website mobile-friendly.

If your business website has not yet adopted responsive design, here is where to start:

  1. Check out Google’s guide to mobile-friendly websites.
  2. Take the Mobile-Friendly Test to see how your website stacks up. You can test a single page or all to see exactly what Google’s search algorithm is looking for.
  3. Your web developer can generate a Mobile Usability Report to help identify any issues with your website when viewed on a mobile device.

Google recommends responsive web design as the industry best practice for websites. A responsive website seamlessly adapts itself to whichever device it is being viewed from. While responsive web design should be your ultimate goal, creating a fully responsive site can present a challenge for many small business owners. However, simply using Google’s guidelines to optimize your existing website for mobile platforms will help greatly in the meantime.

The Newtek Team is here to help ensure your website is eligible for this valuable Google ranking boost! Contact us today to get started. 1.866.820.8910 | techsales@thesba.com

Start Planning Now: Support for Windows Server 2003 is ending on July 14, 2015

HomelandSecurity-WinServ2003-blogThe US Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning about the consequences of not upgrading Windows Server 2003 systems by July 14, 2015.

This is the date Microsoft will stop providing software updates for the aging platform, meaning new exploits will not be fixed.

Homeland Security stresses that consequences could mean exposure to cybersecurity threats, which may lead to malicious attacks or electronic data loss.

Newtek Is Here To Help

If you have self-hosted or on-premise systems running Server 2003, now is the time to consider upgrading and moving your servers to a secure data center. Benefits of this include:

  • Avoiding the high upfront costs of buying new server hardware
  • Keeping your servers in a hyper-secure Newtek data center
  • Having a 24/7/365 team available to address issues immediately

If your organization has Server 2003 systems hosted at another provider, now is time to reassess your solution:

  • Newtek regularly beats competitor pricing on server hosting, and we are currently offering special incentives for Server 2003 upgrades
  • Our server operations team can assist with your upgrade to a newer platform, along with the migration to our data center
  • We offer both virtual and dedicated solutions that can meet your organization’s specific needs.

If you’re currently hosting a Newtek Dedicated Server running Server 2003, now is the time to start planning your upgrade.

  • We can help you with your upgrade and migration
  • With both dedicated and virtual server options available (running Windows Server 2012), we may be able to reduce your currently monthly costs
  • We are heavily experienced upgrading Windows 2003 systems to Windows 2012

Newtek Solution Architects are also available to review any of needs at no cost or obligation. Contact us today to get started.

NOTE: Newtek Shared Web Hosting Customers do not need to take any action regarding this alert. Newtek has already upgraded most of its legacy shared hosting servers that are running Windows Server 2003, with remaining systems scheduled for an upgrade well before the July 14, 2015 deadline. 

WordPress Updates, Do I Need a Developer?

WP ProfessionalThe short answer: most likely. Unless you are yourself a developer, a web professional, or a highly technical person – you should at very least seek out a little assistance with updating your business website.

Why? Because we hear this phrase everyday: “I tried to update my WordPress site and now it is broken.”

The first rule of WordPress is to always run the latest version of WordPress. No matter what platform your website is built on, you need to do updates to make sure your site is functioning correctly. Think of it this way: over time, you need to preform periodic upgrades on your car in order to keep things working properly, your website is no different in this regard.

When you have a WordPress Content Management System, it is especially important to make sure your site is updated when the system prompts you to perform updates. One of the things that make WordPress such a popular blogging platform and website platform is the ability to add in plugins to make the system as robust as possible. When you are adding those many plugins to your WordPress site, all of those plugins need to communicate together and when they do not, your site does not function correctly.

So what do you do when you need to update your WordPress site?

WordPress has two methods for updating, the easiest being the one-click update, which in theory should work for most sites. The WordPress directions for a one-click update are listed here and seem simple enough: http://codex.wordpress.org/Updating_WordPress

What they do not explain is that this is dependent on the update being compatible with your current WordPress theme and all of your plugins to that theme and this is where you will typically encounter problems. In our experience, we see over 90% of the time there are compatibility issues when you attempt to update WordPress.

Your WordPress version needs to be compatible with your current WordPress theme otherwise it could break your whole theme and your blog/site could go down. You will also encounter compatibility and functionality issues within your WordPress plugins. This is best done in a development environment what areas of the site are not functioning correctly from the upgrade. This is where we recommend calling an experienced WordPress Developer to do this for you. The second method WordPress has for updating is manual. As you get into the manual functions of updating your site and plugins, it can get extremely complicated and tricky to do this correctly. The hours you spend attempting to do this yourself only to realize your site is not functioning correctly is not worth the money you will save by hiring an experienced developer to do this for you.

If you are in need of a developer to help you perform updates on your WordPress site, Newtek Web Services is here to help. Please call us at 866.820.8910 today!

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