What is WordPress?

WordPress web development companyIt’s safe to assume that you have heard of WordPress if you’ve ever worked with a B2B technology company.  More and more sites are being created through this CRM system today than ever before- but do you know exactly how it works or what you can do with it?  This article is designed to deliver a brief background and description of features for the most popular self-blogging tool in the world.

 

WordPress Background:

 

WordPress started over a decade ago as a simple bit of code to enhance typography of everyday writing.  Today it has grown astronomically to over 60 million websites.  In fact, 18.9% of the top 10 million websites utilize WordPress as of August this year.  One of the best aspects of WordPress is that it was created by and for the public.  Hundreds of world-wide developers constantly update the system, and there is no monetary cost, licensing fee or standards on what you can use it for.  The only requirement is web hosting, which can be acquired through a number of carriers for around $10 per month.

WordPress Features:

 

Themes and plugins are some unique and very customizable features in WordPress.  Thousands of different “themes” are available to users, which allow them to change the look and functionality of a WordPress site without altering the information content or structure of the site.  There also exists a database of over 26,000 plugins.  Just like smartphones use apps, users can download and delete plugins at will for their site.  Each offers custom features enabling users to tailor their site to their specific needs.  SEO enhancers, social media integrations, and custom image sliders are some of the most popular widgets available.

The bottom line is that WordPress is the most widely-used PHP and MySQL-based CRM system on the market today for a reason.  The user-interface is extremely easy to understand and update, making it ideal for less tech-savvy users.  At the same time, however, its library of advanced plugins, widgets and themes make it very capable of handling the most complex of tasks from advanced web developers.  It is simply a brilliant platform, and it is what iPoint utilizes for the majority of our website builds.

Want to learn more about WP?  Check out our beginner’s guide to WordPress in our document center for everything you need to know to get started creating a custom website of your own.

Maintaining a Healthy Server- 6 Easy Tips

healthy computer network1) Wipe off Electronics Daily:

Cleaning your computer network elements is essential for good server health.  Dust and small debris can build up over time and grow onto hardware elements, reducing their productivity.  Cleaning or dusting the server and computer hardware at least once daily is a great way to prevent this harmful buildup (you don’t want your system to look like the one on the left, do you?).

2) Eliminate Food in the Room

This is one of the most basic guidelines with regard to computer heath.  Dust is inevitable, but small food and drink particle litter can be avoided by restricting these items near the server room.  The last thing you want is for an employee to spill liquid on computer hardware, and banning food helps upkeep the cleanliness of the space.

3) Limit Personnel Access

Simply limiting the access of employees is an easy way to decrease foot traffic through your server room.  Shoes contain dirt and dust particles so the less people who interact with the room, the better.  Either way, this space should be reserved for qualified network technicians only.

4) Use a Surge Protector

Surges or spikes in electricity can cause damage to your networking hardware.  This is an unpredictable element, and can even depend on the weather at certain times of the year.  To avoid potential data loss and server damage, be sure that all of your important hardware is connected to power via a surge protector.  They only cost a few bucks, which is microscopic if you consider the amount of time and money it would take to replace an entire server or computer network.

5) Back Up Your Data

Although this doesn’t exactly relate to server health, it is important to perform.  Unseen threats always exist- such as theft, fire or flooding.  Peace of mind can be established for cents on the day by backing up your mission-critical files in an off-site location for when disasters occur.  For more information on backup, see our iRemote page.

6) Keep the Room Cool

Computers and servers produce a great amount of heat, especially when running constantly.  Although it is debated constantly by IT experts, the general rule of thumb is to keep your expensive hardware in an environment that is lower than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is the maximum temperature limit, so you’ll want to avoid even getting close to it.  Maintaining an ambient temperature of 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for system reliability.

 

7 Web Trends for 2013

Web Trends and Fort Collins Web Services2013 has been a year of great technological advancement in regard to web development.  Look for these 7 web trends in the coming years, and consider using some of these techniques to stay ahead of the tech-curve and make your business’ website phenomenal:

 

1) Typography-

In the past, web developers were at the mercy of choosing from a select few web-based fonts to include in their website.  These were considered “safe fonts”, which were compatible across all operating systems.  Today, typography libraries have exploded with new, creative and unique fonts.  Big and bold headers make it easy for users to find the information they are looking for- it improves developer expression, communication, navigation and it puts content first.

2) Parallax Scrolling-

This popular trend in 2012 will definitely increase in the coming years.   Parallax, where the background moves slower than the foreground content, creates a 3D projection on a 2D landscape.  This provides depth to the website and gives the user a unique and interactive experience.

3) Infinite Scrolling-

Many popular social media platforms utilize infinite scrolling as a way to improve the user experience.  Infinite scrolling enables a website to automatically load additional content as the user reaches the bottom of the page.  This eliminates pagination and reduces user time spent on locating specific information.

4) Responsive Design-

Responsive website design has become more of a necessity than a trend.  It is simply the best solution to provide users with the most compatible version of a website across any mobile device.  With the public’s adoption of smartphones and tablets, businesses need to ensure that their website is compatible and looks sharp across all devices.

5) Simplicity-

Simplicity has recently re-emerged as a popular website trend.  Moving away from flashy graphics and unnecessary flashiness, new websites are being developed around content.  This removes unwanted clutter and improves the user experience on websites that utilize a simple, yet effective designs.

6) Metro/Content First Design-

Windows 8 is a good example of Metro Design.  Related to the content-first web trend, this style of web design organizes content in the form of a grid of tiles or boxes.  These tiles are typically clean-cut, with large images or icons which have scroll-over effects.  Again, we see that simplicity and content are more prevalent than complexity and glitter.

7) Retina Support-

Since the adaptation of Apple’s Retina Display in 2011, the web industry has been moving towards more pixel-dense displays.  As we all know, technology only moves forward- not backward.  Look for more stunning visual sharpness and surprisingly photographic images to be included in websites in forthcoming years.

Relationship Between Databases and SQL

database development fort collinsIf you’ve ever created a website, you may have encountered terms such as “SQL” and “database”- but what exactly are they?  Actually, SQL and databases are related very closely as you will see in the following text.  Before we discuss SQL, however, we must first understand the basics of a database.

Imagine if every document you have saved over the years was located on the desktop of your computer.  While the process may work for a while, it becomes more time consuming to locate a specific document as the number of files grow.  This is where a database comes in.  Databases are essentially collections of data that are designed to let the user retrieve and store data as efficiently as possible.  They are capable of storing millions of records, while at the same time able to locate a single unique file within seconds.   The computer language that these entities speak is the SQL side.

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a programming language designed for managing items held in databases.  Most databases support the use of SQL to access and store data- MySQL is one of the most popular brands.  It is commonly offered through web hosting providers for websites that require certain web software such as a blog or content management system (CMS).  If you have these items embedded in your website, then you probably are already utilizing this database language.  Fortunately, the average user does not need to learn this coding language- only the CMS or blogging platform it runs on (i.e. WordPress, Drupal).

So, this is the relationship between databases and SQL.  SQL is the language that speaks to the database which makes it possible to store and retrieve information very rapidly.  Our developers at iPoint are experts in SQL and MySQL languages, and our networking group excels in database development.  If you believe your business’ website could benefit from either of these services, don’t hesitate to contact our Networking Department!