Why We Love Drupal’s Base Building Blocks Theme

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We know we have passionate Web developers when they love using their free time to keep on coding. We shared previously about our developer Ben’s WordPress theme and today we are sharing about our application developer Patrick’s Drupal Base Building Blocks theme

What is Drupal?

Drupal is an open source content management system that is written in PHP. It’s also a community of developers that build extensions to the Drupal CMS (modules and themes) and work on Drupal Core.

Why did you want to create a theme for Drupal?

There are great base themes for Drupal available, but I didn’t find myself using them for one reason or another. I noticed a number of things that I did every time I created Drupal themes, so to help me save time I started building a simple base theme. 

When I added Bootstrap to the project it became more complex because a lot has to be done to ensure Bootstrap works well with Drupal. Now there is also a Base Building Blocks Module that adds Bootstrap elements in the form of submodules (like the navbar blocks, carousel blocks, etc.), and this helps me save even more time because I can easily build a bootstrap-dependant module and use it over and over again.

When did you create the Base Building Blocks theme?

I started the initial base theme two years ago and slowly built from there. I released it on Github in June 2012.

Why should developers choose Base Building Blocks theme over another theme?

If a Web developer is looking for an HTML5 boilerplate, Bootstrap-ed base theme for Drupal, then I think the developer will find Base Building Blocks to be a helpful tool. 

How many people have used Base Building Blocks?

I’m not sure of the exact number, but I know at least ten companies are using it to build their clients’ Drupal sites. The github repo has 42 watchers at the moment, and I’m working toward putting the project on drupal.org. That’s when it will most likely become more useful to more people.

Are you thinking of creating any other themes?

I have been considering building a branch for Base Building Blocks that uses Zurb Foundation as opposed to Bootstrap — both are awesome CSS/JS libraries! I have also worked on a CodeIgniter theming system, and its theme looks similar to Base Building Blocks.

Why do you enjoy creating themes?

Writing JavaScript/HTML/CSS is usually relatively simple and enjoyable. It’s nice to see the harder code work that has been done to properly store and manage data implemented in a beautiful interface. Also, as we all know, creating good user experience for an application/website is a very important part of making it a successful product.

Anything else you would like to add?

If you use Base Building Blocks in a project, please let me know what your experience was, what you thought was good and what you thought needed improvement. It’s all about collaboration.

To learn more about Fahrenheit Marketing’s talented Web developers and how we can help your company, contact us today. 


Fahrenheit’s Online Marketing News Round-Up

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We like staying updated on the online marketing world through reading as many newsworthy online marketing articles as we can find. To help you stay on top of what’s new too, here are some recent articles we’ve been talking about in our office:

1. Mashable Leans Hard Into Native, Viewable Ads 

Mashable, the social media hub, has launched a redesign of its site that focuses on rethinking its ad inventory and also includes a new social virality algorithm. The velocity algorithm monitors Mashable’s content for signs of virality — and then immediately promotes those that are about to become viral.

2. 9 Search & Social KPIs To Start Tracking Right Now

This article discusses how even if you have many followers, retweets and social shares, it is hard to know if that is increasing your revenue, boosting customer satisfaction and lowering costs. It shares how to develop goals and gives nine search and social key performance indicators to track to see if those goals are being met.

3. Customers Are Clamoring For Pizza Hut’s Bizarre New Perfume

After Pizza Hut’s social media managers posted a joke last August about how they wish they could bottle the smell of fresh-made pizza, thousands of fans said they really wanted a bottle. Thanks to the popular Facebook post, Pizza Hut created a new perfume that smells like dough with a little seasoning, and is giving it to 100 of those fans.

4. Google Search App: Martin Van Buren

We love this new ad for Google Search App. It shows how a mom uses Google Knowledge Graph to quickly transform her daughter into the 19th century American president Martin Van Buren for her daughter’s school’s Dress like a President Day.

5. Why 2013 Is the Year of Responsive Web Design

This Mashable article shares the news that this is the first year since 2001 that PC sales have gone down and tablet sales are expected to exceed 100 million this year. The solution for this huge technology change is to make sure your website is responsive, just like we discussed in one of our previous posts.

6. Is Facebook Running Out of News Feed Real Estate?

It seems that brands are starting to catch on to how placing ads in Facebook newsfeeds does attract fans more than placing them elsewhere. But what will happen to newsfeeds when when too many brands have their ads there?

7. WordPress 3.5 Unleashed Today

WordPress 3.5 was released earlier this week. Since we build our clients’ sites on WordPress, we were excited to check out the changes. The latest update is nicknamed “Elvin,” in honor of legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones. The new changes make the platform even more user-friendly. 

We hope you enjoy these articles as much as we did. To learn more about Fahrenheit Marketing, contact us today.


The Non-Programmer’s Guide to Setting a Google Authorship Picture for WordPress Pages

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Code can be scary. And adding snippets of code to the header.php of your WordPress installation is one operation you don’t want to botch. At Fahrenheit Marketing, we’ve created a 10-minute guide to establishing Google Authorship for your WordPress pages, without touching a line of HTML.

“What’s a Google Authorship Picture?”

Google Authorship pictures are fun. They say, “I’m here on the Internet and I know what I’m doing.” They add visual interest to your search engine listings and (can) make people more apt to click on them.

Here’s Fahrenheit’s Google Authorship picture:

 

Without even clicking on the search listing, you know that Fahrenheit is run by Ricardo Casas and he’s having a great time doing it.

Now let’s get your smiling face posted.

Step One: Install the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

You don’t need to worry about what Yoast or SEO means, (the former is a Dutch company, the latter is a form of Internet marketing we excel at) you just need to know that this plugin will make your life easier. Aside from letting you write page titles and meta descriptions without touching your html (both posts for another day), the WordPress SEO Plugin will automatically add the code for Google Authorship once we complete the remaining steps.

Step Two: Make/Add to Your Google Account

Most of you will probably have some sort of Google (Gmail, YouTube) account. If you don’t, you can make an account here.

Login to your account. If you haven’t already, you can add your picture and then crop it.

Now comes an important part: Click edit your profile and scroll down to the Contributor field.

 

Click the contributor field and then add the website you’d like your picture to be associated with.

 

Click Save.

Step Three: Add Your Google Plus URL to Your WordPress Profile

While still logged in to Google Plus, copy the URL associated with your account. Ricardo’s personal URL looks a little like this:

 

With your URL copied to your clipboard, login to your installation of WordPress. Go to Users>>Your Profile. You should see something like this:

 

Now paste your Google Plus URL into the Google+ field.

Click Update Profile.

Step Four: Make Sure You’re the Author Associated with Each Page

If you only have one log-in to your WordPress installation, you’re probably done. Drink a hot chocolate in triumph.

If you have multiple usernames/logins to your WordPress site, you need to check that you’re the author on each page. Then drink a hot chocolate in triumph.

Click Pages.

Here you can see that Ricardo is the author of each page:

 

If your user isn’t the author of each page, click Quick Edit and change that:

 

Step Five: Wait for Google to Recognize Your Change

The big G should recognize your changes within a few days. If it’s been more than a week, you’ve probably done something wrong. Post a comment and we’ll try to help.

Best wishes on your journey and let’s make the Internet smile!


Three Ways to Design Websites for User Experience

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When we design websites, we don’t just focus on how the site looks, we care about every detail and how these details will impact user experience (UX) from start to finish. Microsoft Research has found that the average Web page visit lasts less than one minute. We know every second counts, which is why we design websites with our clients’ users in mind.

1. Know Your User

A recent article from UX Magazine discussed how developing fictional personas can bring sanity to projects. Through envisioning an actual user from a client’s target audience, the article shared that the designer can make inferences about the needs and desires of the audience, communicate user characteristics in a compact and clear way, help keep stakeholders from changing the definition of the audience and put a face on who the site is being designed for. 

2. KISS…Most of the time

A popular UX term is KISS — Keep It Simple Stupid. If there are too many fonts, colors, pictures or too much text jumping off the page, then your user will have information overload. If a site is simple and scannable, it is easier to navigate and stay connected. But don’t forget to know your user. Some small segments, such as engineers, may enjoy complex interfaces and the challenge that comes with them. Keep that in mind too, but most of the time just KISS.

3. Exceed Users’ Expectations

The UX article also discussed how if you exceed user’s goals, you will be memorable. Aaron Walter, the lead user-experience designer for Mail Chimp, discussed making a memorable product. “Hold on to that memory … that feeling is what we’re trying to craft through emotional design. We’ll create that feeling of excitement and we’ll bond with our audience.” It’s those little details, that you didn’t have to do, that usually make a huge, memorable impact on the user. 

Everyday at Fahrenheit Marketing, we are designing websites with the user’s experience in mind. To learn more about our Web designs, contact Fahrenheit Marketing today.


Follow Friday: Social Media Gurus

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Even though most people know social media would help their businesses, many aren’t sure how to use it effectively. For this Follow Friday, we found five social media gurus that we learn from who were on the Forbes list for the Top 10 Influencers in Social Media.

1. @chrisbrogan: Chris Brogan is the NY Times bestselling author of “Social Media 101” and is the president and CEO of Human Business Works. He has an informative newsletter he sends out every Sunday to subscribers that shares many of his social media and online marketing secrets to success.

2. @MariSmith: Mari Smith is considered one of the top social media thought leaders and is a popular consultant who trains businesses in how to best use social media. She has a helpful book,“The New Relationship Marketing,” which outlines a proven nine-step program for building a network comprised of quality relationships that garner leads, publicity, sales and more.

3. @marketingprofs: Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, which provides strategic and tactical marketing know-how and training for marketing and business professionals. She also writes a helpful monthly column for Entrepreneur Magazine.

4. @garyvee: Gary Vaynerchuk’s book “The Thank You Economydetails the effect of social media on business. His company, VaynerMedia, helps Fortune 500 companies like Campbell Soup Company, PepsiCo, Green Mountain Coffee, the NY Jets and the Brooklyn Nets find their social media voices and build their digital brands.

5. @unmarketing: Scott Stratten is the President of Un-Marketing. He is an expert in Viral, Social and Authentic Marketing which he calls Un-Marketing — positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of your target market, so when they have the need, they choose you. His book “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging” became a national bestseller before it was released.

We hope learning from and following these social media experts will help you as much as they have helped us. To learn more about our social media strategies, contact Fahrenheit Marketing today.