Can I build a sufficient business website on Squarespace?

Rocky & Carlo's Restaurant & Bar websiteAs a website developer who primarily builds content management system websites on established CMS platforms, I always had a bad feeling about Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and other "do it yourself" website tools. I'd wonder, "Will these services eventually take over the small business market? Will I lose business to these guys?"

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Should I stay or should I go now?

Hostettler label

Mystery caller says "Meet me in the Quarter. I got an interesting job for ya."

I love being a graphic designer in New Orleans—you never know what the next job will entail. Last year, I got a mysterious call from someone needing help. The call went something like this:

Me: I Design, this is Matt.

Mystery client: I need graphics help. 

Me: Okay, I can probably help you. What exactly do you need?

Mystery client: I can't explain it, I need to show you. Can you meet me in the French Quarter?

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LPT: "password" is not a good password

Happy New Year everyone! To kick off 2019, I've republished the top ten worst passwords from SplashData's "Top 100 Worst Passwords for 2018." Unfortunately, many of the same offenders are tops on the list. And here's a Life Pro Tip: password is not a good password. Neither is 123456. Even though most users know that passwords should be secure, many still use the awful ones below.

Remember to make passwords at least 8 characters long, with mixed types including upper and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. And another tip from SplashData reminds us to use a different password for each of your logins. That way, if a hacker gets access to one of your passwords, they will not be able to use it to access other sites.

You can click here to see their full list. So, without further ado, enjoy the top 10 below (with change from 2017):

  1. 123456 (Unchanged)
  2. password (Unchanged)
  3. 123456789 (Up 3)
  4. 12345678 (Down 1)
  5. 12345 (Unchanged)
  6. 111111 (New, really?)
  7. 1234567 (Up 1)
  8. sunshine (New)
  9. qwerty (Down 5)
  10. iloveyou (Unchanged)

Phones are good...

Compelled to share this creative and funny ad by 3 UK. #PhonesAreGood

Does my website need an SSL certificate?

SSL padlockLately I've been contacting the clients that host websites at I Design about the importance of adding Transport Layer Security or a Secure Sockets Layer certificate (SSL) to their website hosting package. In the past, SSL was reserved for websites that shared sensitive data with users or sold products. But that has changed and in today's world, secure websites are a must. 

We now automatically install SSL certificates on all new accounts. And when we add SSL certificates to existing sites, we modify the site settings to automatically route traffic to the new https domain. This helps bookmarks or links that are already on other sites get properly rerouted to the new https pages.

With their HTTPS everywhere initiative, Google is really pushing sites to install SSL certificates. So not only does it help secure your site, it helps with your overall SEO. That alone should be reason enough. Also, web browsers will eventually start showing warnings for non-secure sites, so it's better to be proactive.

If you'd like to read more, here's a link to an article on Forbes.com that goes into more detail. 

Our latest site – Leger & Shaw

Leger & Shaw websiteLeger & Shaw is a full service law firm concentrating in maritime law and class actions & complex litigation. They hired a national company for their original website, but found out that bigger is not always better. So, they contacted us to develop a fresh site full of new features, including dynamic content on the homepage that highlights their experience in large, high profile cases. We felt it was important to highlight this experience, as it's one of the firm's most important distinguishing features and it separates their firm from the many other personal injury firms that fight for the crowded car and truck accident space.

We also consolidated their text and used elements that focused on the firm's strengths throughout the site. In the backend, the site uses SASS compiled CSS and LiteSpeed Enterprise to deliver fast, engaging, content on all kinds of screen sizes and devices.

Click there to view legerandshaw.com.

Streetcar ads are rolling now

streetcar

I worked with New Orleans Steamboat Company this summer to develop a set of ads for the Steamboat NATCHEZ, Gray Line New Orleans and Café Beignet. This was my first time doing street car ads (I've done streetcar kiosks and station signs before) and It was a great project that involved some new angles of thought. 

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Just published a new website for a New Orleans Personal Injury Firm

We've just published a new website for the New Orleans law firm of Lewis, Kullman, Sterbcow & Abramson, LLC. Like almost all of our websites, this one is a custom design and we're very proud of the final result. 

Several years back, the firm hired us to replace their old site that was outdated and uninspiring. We quickly published a new, responsive CMS website with a new logo design so they could be proud of their online presence. They decided late last year to start on a new, more dynamic, modern website to compete in the crowded plaintiff law firm category. The redesign has lots of new features, including dynamic design tiles highlighting their practice areas and attorney bios (two of the most important sections of a law firm site), dynamic slider content on the attorney bio pages, and new keyword rich text. The new site is fast, engaging, and works great on all kinds of screen sizes and devices.

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Love that Instagram pic! Think I'll use it too.

It's easy to download photos from the internet, but in most cases, reusing them on your own site is copyright infringement. Photos that are classified as being in the "public domain" are the exception, so be careful when publishing photos or graphics on your site.

Also, with the ease of sharing photos on social media, it's good to know what you can and can't do with someone else's posted photos. Here's a short post from designtaxi.com that explains sharing rules on Instagram.

 

White Space is Your Friend

used car adI have some clients (who will remain nameless) that like to fill every bit of space they have available with something – text, pics, stars, banners – anything but white space. I guess they believe that they're paying for the space, especially if it's an ad, so they might as well get as much out of it as possible. But I can assure you, that white space is your friend. When a print design, or a even a web page or app page are crowded with elements, it looks crowded. It looks messy. It looks like something a used car salesman would do in a newspaper ad. Okay for showing lots of information about lots of cars, but not very elegant or professional looking.

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