Sherrie Bakshi

Director of Marketing and Social Media

The Non-Techie Guide to Using Sitefinity

Over the last few years, we’ve implemented a number of websites in the Sitefinity content management system.  From a technology perspective, we love the system for its robust functionality, its ability to integrate with other systems, multiple widgets and its user-interface, but, why should you love it?

Whether it was posting a news item or updating the branding areas on the homepage, when it came to updating content on your website, you needed to have someone with coding skills do it for you. Not anymore!

While there are multiple content management systems out there for you to choose from (WordPress, Drupal are a few that come to mind), we wanted to share with you why we love Sitefinity.

keyboard

  • You don’t need to wait for someone to update and edit content. Once your website is launched, you can add content such as news items, blog posts, articles, and more without the help of a developer.
  • You can create dynamic mash-up pages using widgets. Let’s say, you’re posting a case study about a specific project. As part of that specific page, you may consider posting in a news widget that highlight news related, blog posts or events related to the project. You may even want to pull in video highlighting key accomplishments about the project.
  • It’s easy to manage title tags and metadata. In many cases, adding title tags and metadata requires help from a front end developer. Not in Sitefinity!  You can manage metadata and title tags for your pages by going to the page’s “Titles and Properties.” Once you’ve added them in the appropriate boxes, save it and go ahead and publish the page. Be mindful though that Sitefinity doesn’t allow you to use any symbols except a dash.

These are just a few things we like about Sitefinity. What about you?  What do you like about Sitefinity?

Sherrie Bakshi

Director of Marketing and Social Media

Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Rolls Out Today

Google rolled out its NEW mobile-friendly algorithm today.

Why is Google doing this? The world is mobile. With an estimated 63% of American adults using their phones to go online (Pew Research Center), Google, the world’s largest search engine, wants companies to get serious about their mobile strategies. Internet search concept

What does this mean? When searching on your devices, Google will highlight mobile-friendly in the search engines. More importantly, mobile-friendly websites will rank higher in mobile searches.

How does this impact your organization’s web strategy? For one thing, if you don’t have a mobile strategy, it’s time to get serious about one. It’s also a good time for those with mobile strategies to assess them.

Here’s how:

  • Start with your own analytics. When reviewing your analytics, go to Audiences>Mobile>Overview. You can see from what type of device visitors are accessing your website. To gather a sense of whether or not traffic has climbed among mobile devices over a specific period, simply select the “compare to” in the calendar box (top right hand corner) and adjust dates. You can customize the dates based on specific periods.
  • Use the mobile-friendly test tool. This tool crawls individual pages on your website and lets you know if a page is not mobile-friendly and why.
  • Make your current website responsive. These days many content management systems, including Sitefinity and WordPress, offer responsive templates to help web developers convert desktop sites to responsive.

Finally, if you haven’t redesigned your website in a few years, make sure that you budget for a responsive website.

Hassan Elhassan

Front End Web Developer

Tools to Test Your Website on Multiple Devices

A mobile marketing budget is imperative. While 2014 was considered the year of the mobile, imagine what we will see in 2015!  Matrix Group Creative Director Alex Pineda recently shared that one of the top design trends to watch out for in 2015 is the expansion of responsive design with the explosion of mobile devices with different screen sizes and resolutions.  What does that mean to you? Image of various devices showing website

Over the last few years, when it came to designing websites, we built and tested sites on phones, desktops and tablets with similar screen sizes. That’s no longer the case! With multiple devices ranging in different sizes and screen resolutions, you want to make sure you test your site in different devices. There are many tools available out there to do this, but our front end developers have a few that they prefer:

Google Chrome Device Mode & Mobile Emulation: Our primary way of testing and building websites, this tool not only allows us to test the site based on device, screen size and resolutions, but allows us to test the functionality and performance based on specific situations:

Responsinator.com: The site lets you view your site in multiple devices and sizes. Test your current site and see how it looks.

Responsive.is/: A critical thing to look at when testing the responsiveness of your site is the typeface and size. This site is a great resource to use to test your website.

What resources do you use to test your websites?  Share them with us.

Kevin VanEvery

Technical Sales Consultant

The Best of the Sitefinity 7.1 Upgrade

Sitefinity logoThe best part about working with an established CMS product like Sitefinity is always the support and upgrades. Every quarter, Telerik releases a new version of Sitefinity with new features and bug fixes. The latest, Sitefinity 7.1, was released at the end of July. You can look at the full release notes here.

But there are a couple items here worth talking about specifically: related content and sitemaps.

Related Content

Related Content is one of the new features that really makes this release an important one. This opens up so many possibilities for contextual publishing that just weren’t possible before.

Consider this simple example: Let’s say we publish a news item announcing our new organizational goals for 2015. We want to reference previous years’ goal documents, as well. In the old versions, we’d have to set up a category just for “Organizational Goals” and use a separate, heavily customized widget to pull news items with the same category onto the page as Related News. Now, if we want to link up two news items so they always display together, it’s as simple as picking the related item out of the list and displaying it. No double widgets, no heavy code customization, no weird categories.

That’s a simple example, but there’s lots of room to explore with this new tool, like:

  • Reuse locations for your events? Create a separate “locations” module and link it to events. Never type in the same address info again.
  • Want to promote a product in a news item? Now you can link directly to the product from the e-commerce section.

Sitemaps

The other key item is sitemaps. A lot of the time, you never notice the sitemap for a website. You navigate using the site navigation and site search. But Google notices your sitemap. Being able to generate a sitemap for all your Sitefinity content is a huge upgrade that will improve your site’s SEO and site search solutions.

On top of all of this are the standard bug fixes, patches, and a significant increase in performance and speed from the admin side. 7.1 is an excellent product release, and we’re helping clients get on it every day.

Hassan Elhassan

Front End Web Developer

GistBox

gistboxGistBox is a free web application that  helps web developers store and organize their code snippets or gists, in a way that is so easy to manage and navigate. There are several tools and features to keep your gists organized, including:

  • Color-coded labels
  • Code libraries
  • Real time push updates  and so much more!

Have you tried GistBox? Share your thoughts

Learn more about GistBox