A New Look with WordPress Themes

Let’s have a think about how a website looks: the layout, colours, font and styling generally. If a website is static i.e. made up of separate HTML pages, the styling is part of the page. But if your website uses a theme or template, it is much easier to change the appearance.

Our preferred Content Management System (CMS) is WordPress which uses a WordPress theme to control appearance. Simply by changing the theme, it’s possible to give your website a whole new look. The content will remain the same but will be presented in a new way. This opens up exciting new possibilities. Your website can be updated as often as you want for minimal effort. You can have seasonal changes: a Christmas theme, an Easter theme and so on. Most themes also allow a degree of customisation: background image changes, changed text colours or similar.

WordPres Themes are available for free download or to purchase at reasonable prices. For example Themify have some great contemporary designs. Or you can even have a WordPress theme created to your bespoke requirements.

So if you are tired of your old website design, it might be much easier to update than you think.

Here at Vapour Trail we create and update websites, mainly for small business. We recommend WordPress as a great business solution and we don’t charge the earth. In fact an initial consultation and a quote are completely free. There’s no pushy sales people (we literally don’t have any). We just want to meet up and find out what we can do for you.

If you need a new look, call us now 0333 123 0004 or email info@vapourtrail.biz

Featured image by Renata Salles

How To Add Pictures To Your WordPress Blog

Pictures speak in a different language to words. Sometimes a picture is the only way to convey the true impact of a thing or situation. Having both words and pictures available to you is a powerful combination. If your website is based on a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, you have that combination at your fingertips.

Adding pictures to your Blog is not at all difficult, but let me first talk about the pictures themselves. You don’t need an expensive camera to produce good quality pictures. But you do need to think about what you are doing and develop a few skills.

The current generation of smartphones, compact digital cameras and digital SLRs will all produce pictures that can be used on a website. However they are not guaranteed to do so. The most important part of the picture taking process is the photographer.

How to add pictures to your wordpress blog

Times Square photographed with a Samsung smartphone

Images for use on your website should be:

  • In focus
  • Properly lit
  • Composed in a pleasing way
  • Have the important details fully visible and not hidden in shadow or “blown out” highlights.

Let’s think about these points in more detail.

Focus – Most modern cameras have auto focus but it’s not infallible. Learn how the system works (read the booklet) and practice. Check your results immediately. If they look fuzzy, do it again.

Lighting – If possible, use diffused natural light. Light from the north is less glaring than light from the south. Avoid flash unless you know what you are doing. The flashes on phones and compact cameras are especially good at producing red eye and other undesireable effects.

Composition – Get the camera level and take time to review what you are looking at. Placing your subjects centrally won’t win any artistic prizes but you will be able to see them and they are more likely to be in focus.

Details fully visible – This is very much a result of getting the lighting right. Inadequate lighting will mean the image is too dark or too much will be in shadow. Harsh bright light will also produce deep shadows and highlights without details. Check your image before shooting and review after pressing the shutter. If it looks wrong, try and move you subject into softer light and try again.

Remember, the quality of a picture depends on the ability of the photographer, just like the quality of a meal depends on the skill of the cook.

How To Add Pictures To Your WordPress Blog

If you are using WordPress, this is easy. Do any editing and save the image file on the same computer as you are writing your with.

With the cursor at the point in the text where you want the image to appear, click the Add Media button. Select Upload Files then click the Select Files button to find the file on your computer. After selecting and clicking Open or OK (depending on computer) you will see the upload progress on the right of the next screen. Add a title and alternative text for the image, select alignment and the size you want it to appear. Clicking the Insert into Post button places the image in your Post. When you Publish the Post, it will be there for all to see.

Further Reading – detailed WordPress instructions on adding images

 

Four Must-Have Acronyms For Your Website

I would recommend that any new business website included the following features:

Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS allows persons other than a website designer to update the website. This can be the site’s owner or designated administrator, third party search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist or marketing specialist.

Fresh, optimised content is essential to keeping a website relevant both to human readers and search engine enquiries.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This is the process of ensuring that the content of the website is understood by search engines. In it’s most basic form, it means ensuring that it’s clear what the website is about. So if you are “Bob’s Builders” in Eastbourne, a search engine enquiry for “bobs builders eastbourne” should find your website.

Responsive Website Design (RWD)

Visitors to your website will view it on a variety of devices: smartphone, tablet, ultrabook, laptop or desktop PC. Your website should look good and be both readable and navigable on all those devices. This is best achieved through a design principle known as Responsive Website Design which allows the page to respond to the dimensions of the screen and display itself appropriately.

Which leads us nicely to WordPress (WP)

WordPress is the world’s leading CMS and the platform for millions of websites. It has great tools for SEO. There are many, freely available RWD themes or we could create a unique RWD theme just for you. If you are not using WP for your small business website, give us a call on 0333 123 0004 about how you could benefit.

Free Themes

The biggest source for free Themes is WordPress’s own Theme Repository. At the time of writing, there are over 2000 freely available Themes for download. Any of these Themes can be used as part of our Small Business Website package. You will need to do the research and tell us which one.

There are other sources of free Themes on the web. Search for “free WordPress Themes” and follow the results.

In the course of your investigations, you may find a Premium Theme that you rather like. If you want to use that for your website, that’s fine, we wil pass on the cost of the Premium Theme.

If you want a completely original design, to reflect branding perhaps, we can provide that as a bespoke design. Once you have provided your requirements, we will be happy to quote you on creating a bespoke design.

All About the WordPress Theme

Websites are designed to present to the viewer in a controlled way. Headers, sidebars and footers all appear in defined places. Consistent fonts and colours will be used throughout. When the website based on WordPress, the “rules” for the appearance of the website are contained in the theme

The WordPress theme is a package of instructions that tell the browser how to display the website.

The WordPress theme is independedent of the website data, so by changing the theme, the look of the website can be completely changed.

Themes can down-loaded for free from the web, bought “off the shelf” or be created specifically for the website.

Free Themes

The biggest source for free Themes is WordPress’s own Theme Repository. At the time of writing, there are over 2000 freely available Themes for download. Any of these Themes can be used as part of our Small Business Website package. You will need to do the research and tell us which one.

There are other sources of free Themes on the web. Search for “free WordPress Themes” and follow the results.

In the course of your investigations, you may find a Premium Theme that you rather like. If you want to use that for your website, that’s fine, we wil pass on the cost of the Premium Theme.

If you want a completely original design, to reflect branding perhaps, we can provide that as a bespoke design. Once you have provided your requirements, we will be happy to quote you on creating a bespoke design.

The Jolly Farmers at Purley

The Jolly Farmers pub at Purley recently asked us to redesign their website.

The Jolly Farmers is a traditional pub that also offers food every day and regular events. The new website is based on the WordPress Content Management System so the pub management have full control over the content of the website. This means they can update the menu, put new events in the diary and add pictures and news stories.

The website is now fully integrated into the way that the pub promotes itself. The website also appears on the first page of a Google search for “live music in Purley”.

Click through to go to the Jolly Farmers, Purley website, then visit them for a pint and something to eat!

40 WordPress Themes To Choose From

A WordPress Theme is the set of instructions that defines how your website will look. It controls the font, layout, colours, module positions and all those other elements that determine the styling of the finished website.

You could have a bespoke theme created so the your website was completely unique, but that is likely to be relatively expensive and not a viable option for a new or small business.

The WordPress design community has created thousands of WordPress Themes and many are free to use, just download and use.

Our Small Business Website package includes the installation of a free theme. Just tell us which one you want and we will do the rest.

Which leaves one question; how do you choose? You could Google search “free wordpress themes” or you could follow the link to a list compiled by the nice people at Creative Bloq. So much choice …

Free WordPress Themes 30-07-13

Choosing between the WordPress themes for your website can be difficult because you are spoiled for choice. Just to make things even more difficult, here are 5 more to think about.
https://managewp.com/free-wordpress-themes-june-2013

Emphaino looks to be an interesting choice if you post a lot of images and Customizr is ideal for people who like to fiddle!

All these themes can be included in our £249 Small Business Website package. Call us on 0333 123 0004 to find out more.

It’s a new website

Vapour Trail’s website has been re-designed. As much of our work is based on the WordPress platform these days, it made sense to use WordPress for our own website.

We believe WordPress is a great platform for business websites. It has a tremendous range of functionality to help you get the best from your website. As it’s a Content Management System (CMS), you can learn to use it yourself, train a colleague to make your changes, or get us to keep you up to date.

If your website is not working for you as hard as it should, make the step up to WordPress. We did!