Why Responsive Web Design Isn't a Question Anymore
One of the most common questions I receive when discussing a website project with a potential client is "will it be responsive?" For quite some time all the major search engines have been actively demoting websites that do not have responsive layouts. So, the answer to this question should always be "yes" regardless of the available budget.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive design is in place when a website layout properly adjusts itself to the viewer's unique screen size. It has become immensely popular since the rise of smartphones in the early 2000s and became essential within the past several years.
How Does it Work?
The content of the website typically doesn’t change across devices. Instead, the theme carries detailed instructions on how to display that same content on different screen sizes. The good news is that almost any modern framework will incorporate responsive design elements from the start. Bootstrap, NationBuilder public themes, and most WordPress themes automatically adjust based on whether a computer, smartphone or tablet is in use.
When a webpage is loading the browser typically conveys which device or screen size is being used. Using mainly Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) the appropriate design elements are pre-configured for displaying the content. Website visitors generally remain blissfully unaware of this internal design working behind the scenes. They immediately see the end result in the form of a properly formatted website.
Why Should You Always Utilize a Fully Responsive Design?
There are a number of reasons why a web designer should always deploy a fully responsive layout. Let's quickly delve into what these factors are and why they are important.Read more
NationBuilder and WordPress Platform Comparison Guide
NationBuilder and WordPress are content management systems (CMS) that facilitate easy creation and modification of digital web content through a convenient user interface. While similar in this respect, their intended purpose, deployment options, pricing and target market are quite different. In this article, we are taking a quick look at both platforms to see what kind of usage they are generally best suitable for, beginning with the most popular option.
WordPress began its life back in 2003 as a humble blogging platform. It quickly gained popularity and today with 50-60% of total market share it is the most used CMS in the world. In fact, around 15,886,000 websites depend on WordPress according to statistics from BuiltWith. What makes WordPress so popular is its incredible flexibility, open-source development path, and proven track-record of widespread success. Many of the world's most visited websites such as New York Post, TED, USA Today, CNN, Fortune.com, TIME.com, Spotify, TechCrunch, and NBC use WordPress as part of their online presence.
Users can either install WordPress as part of a hosting service package, or deploy it themselves on a variety of server environments. The former solution is effortless, allowing even completely inexperienced people to start publishing in just a few minutes with a service like WPengine. The latter empowers experienced website developers to customize everything to precisely fit their needs.
A variety of WordPress specific hosts have risen to prominence over the past few years which offer dispersed servers and excellent caching technologies. The cost for these dedicated services is a bit higher than traditional hosting but that is offset to some extent with time savings in deployment and testing. WordPress is a free platform but quality website hosting and premium extensions can come with a cost. Depending on free WordPress hosting should be reserved for a personal blog since shared environments are typically slow and prone to downtime. Expect to spend between $10-$200 per month for a high quality WordPress experience depending on the number of visitors and complexity of the website project.Read more
Introduction to Content Delivery Networks
Popular sites generally have a lot of content and many visitors simultaneously. During peak hours this can place heavy stress on an under-powered server environment, leading to slow performance or potentially downtime. Since the rise of widespread residential and commercial broadband adoption internationally, numerous solutions had been found to mitigate or prevent this issue entirely.
On one end of the spectrum is the website Craigslist.org which is hugely popular in terms of US-based traffic, but the website itself is extremely lightweight to minimize memory and bandwidth usage. In contrast, top 50 websites like Reddit and Imgur regularly go offline as a result of their massive popularity. Whether the downtime is a result of a specific traffic spike, malicious attack or website configuration issues, the result is almost universally negative. Everyone knows it is imperative that the website's performance is guaranteed. To make sure that a website continues to perform well under load we can distribute static website content to multiple servers across the globe. With the use of a reliable content delivery network (CDN) many traditional hosting concerns are eliminated. In this post I will address the less technical aspects of CDNs and provide some basic use case examples.
What is a Content Delivery Network?
A CDN is a large networked system of multiple synchronized servers, usually constructed in different locations worldwide. It is primarily used to deliver content in a quick and efficient manner to each unique website visitor. A few major commercial suppliers of CDNs are Akamai, MaxCDN, Fastly, Limelight and Amazon CloudFront. There are also free or low cost CDN providers like CloudFlare and CDNify. The NationBuilder platform is deeply integrated with CDN technology from the start, and WordPress offers the functionality through extensions.Read more