Category Archives: Web Design & Development

Buffalo Shopify Website Development

Shopify Website Design & Development: Jecabar.com

theBREWROOM recently launched a new Shopify website for jecabar.com. This website presents their products with striking photography and a clean and simple site design.

Some key project features:

  1. Custom product photography
  2. Price breaks on product quantities
  3. Shopify customization
Take Control

Control How Facebook Displays Your Web Pages

Did you know that you can control how Facebook displays your web pages when they are shared on the social network? You may have found that when you post links to articles on Facebook, it sometimes pulls in an image from the post, also the title, as well as a description of the article. This is because the website is feeding Facebook with information that goes into the Facebook Open Graph Protocol. In short, this protocol is a little bit of information that lives on every page of your site that tells Facebook what the title, description, url, image, etc.. are for that particular page. Rather than making Facebook scan through the article and try to decide for itself, you can do some things to make sure that Facebook is using the information that you want it to use when the article is posted to Facebook.

If You Are Using WordPress:

If your website or blog is on WordPress, you’re life is made a lot easier if you want to control how Facebook displays your pages. Here’s what you do:

STEP 1:   Install WordPress SEO by Yoast. Yes, this is not only the best SEO plugin available for WordPress, but it also has a feature to control how your posts appear on social networks. Nice huh?

social-settingsOnce you activate the plugin, you will want to turn on the Social functionality. This is done by going into the plugin’s Social settings. Click on Social, and then check the box to Add Open Graph meta data. You might want to do the same for Twitter as well as Google+ while you’re in there.

After activating the social functionality, you will see the section (see below) on each of your posts that allows you to manage the SEO settings for that post. Click on the Social tab.

Social Media Settings - Yoast

Step 2:    Enter the Title that you want to appear when this article is posted on Facebook. Do the same for the Description of the page. You may also want to specify the photo or image that you would want to appear when you share the article on Facebook. Sometimes Facebook is smart enough to pull the featured image from the page, or another image from the page, but this is the easy way to tell Facebook which image you WANT to appear. You can choose from amongst your Media Files that you have already uploaded too.

You will notice that you can do the same for Twitter, as well as Google+ posts. If I were you, I would go ahead and set these up. Even if you don’t use those social networks, it doesn’t mean that your article won’t get posted on them. And if your article is posted, you’ll be smart to make sure that it appears the way that you want it to look.

Step 3:    Once you publish your new post, the information that you have included in the Social section of the Yoast plugin will be included on the published page. Just to make sure, you can test it out using Facebook’s Open Graph debugging tool:  https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/

Make sure that you have published the page. Facebook will not be able to scan a draft post.

Enter the URL to your article and click Debug.

You will see what Facebook sees when your article is shared.

Facebook Open Graph Debugging Tool

Each of the elements that you edited on the Yoast plugin should appear, including a thumbnail of the image that you chose.

You will also be able to see a preview of how it will look when the article is shared:

facebook-post-view

Say you made some changes to the page, and want to test it again? Once you publish your changes, click the Fetch New Scrape Information button on the debugging tool. This will clear the page from Facebook’s cache and fetch new page info. You should see your changes there now. You can also use this method to clear Facebook’s cache at any time, for any page.

Once you have it looking the way that you like, go ahead and share it on Facebook, and anywhere else you want it to be shared!

Not on WordPress?

If you’re using another system, or building your web pages from scratch, you will want to make sure that you include the Open Graph tags in your page <head> tag. You should follow the official open graph protocol instructions, which are available here.

We hope that you found this article to be helpful, and that you can get started with making your sites pages more easily shareable and attractive to users when they are shared. If you need help with any of this type of stuff, let us know. We would love to help. Thanks for reading.

pictory productions wedding videography

Pictory Productions – Pittsburgh Wedding Videographer Website Design

Pictory Productions boasts creating “Wedding Films For Fun People“.

Well, theBREWROOM wanted to make sure that the website design and development experience for Pictory was fun for them as well. After all, if they want their clients to have, shouldn’t they have fun as well? We think so.


Megan, of Pictory Productions was heavily involved with the project, and took it upon herself to jump right in and work on the content and visuals for her new website. We love this. We love (clients) people who want to be really involved with their project, and have a real passion for the learning how to do things themselves. We love to work with these kinds of people. Megan was serious about how she wanted her site to look, and that passion for the project comes through in the end result. We hope that she is as happy as we are with the outcome.

Website Facts:

  • Built on WordPress
  • Hosting by theBREWROOM
  • Video integration
jeremy hazelton website

The Personal Blog of Jeremy Hazelton

Not only do we have the pleasure of being able to work on the website for Jeremy, but we also call him a friend. This guy has a real passion and gift for what he does, and when he speaks, that is obvious. We hope that you read his blog, and we hope that you reach out to him to learn more about what he is working on in the City of Buffalo.

jeremy blog facebook post

We’re really looking forward to great things to come from Jeremy. Especially the book that he will be writing soon. Go check out his website, and let him and us know what you think.

Website Facts:

  • Build on WordPress, using Genesis Framework
  • Hosting by theBREWROOM
  • Integrated email newsletter management

Website Design & Development
CreditVest contacted theBREWROOM because they needed a major facelift for their existing website. They needed a new website that looked professional, showed off their services, and allowed their potential customers to find them, and easily contact them. CreditVest also needed a new logo for their company. theBREWROOM designed several different options for them, and helped them narrow their focus until landing on the winning logo – which you will see on the site.

theBREWROOM came up with a site that is responsive on mobile devices, has a clean slider on the home page, and effectively tells you who they work with, and what they do.

We feel that we helped CreditVest take their company website to the next level. What do you think?

thinkshadyside.com - Shadyside Chamber of Commerce

thinkshadyside.com – Shadyside Chamber of Commerce

The Shadyside Chamber of Commerce contacted theBREWROOM for help in designing and developing a new website. Their existing website was old, difficult to update and no longer reflected the style of this popular Pittsburgh neighborhood.

theBREWROOM was able to design and develop a new, mobile responsive website in the WordPress content management system. This allows them to manage the website easily and efficiently. We also worked to optimize each page of the site for search, so that the site would show up more often when people searched for Shadyside’s many shopping, dining and other various businesses. This optimization benefits the Shadyside Chamber of Commerce as well as the businesses themselves. Each business in Shadyside is listed on the site. Chanced are, if you search for something in Shadyside, their website will appear in the search results.

theBREWROOM was also able to help the Chamber set up a new web hosting account for their website.

Please take a moment to visit their site.

Visit ThinkShadyside.com

Let us know if you would like our help in creating a new website for your business or organization. We would love to hear from you. Contact us today.

Restaurant Website Design and Development

theBREWROOM was lucky enough to work with the place that has Pittsburgh’s Best Hot Dog and Beer selection. We aren’t just saying that… they really are awesome. If you haven’t been to D’s Six Pax & Dogz in the Regent Square neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and you love beer and great American food, then you’re missing out. D’s wanted a fun and colorful site – much like the personalities of the people that work there. They tell us that they love their new site. What do you think?

Site:  http://www.ds6pax.com

Most Effective Way to Advertise

effective advertisingThere are so many different ways to advertise your business today. Just from sitting here in front of my computer, I can: send out email blasts, start ads in Google AdWords, Yahoo/Bing Ads, Yelp, Yellowpages.com, Citysearch, Facebook Ads, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other website that I want to pay to promote my business. That’s basically limitless! You would never run out of places to put your ads. But what is the most effective way to advertise for your business?

Is there really anything better than a happy and satisfied client that is willing to tell all of their customers about you and your business? Is there anything better than knowing that you have a small army of many of these individuals that are willing to spread the word about how awesome you are? This is living, breathing, perhaps traveling, free, and ongoing advertising for your business! If this is happening for you, then it also means something bigger. It means you are doing something right! #mustbedoingsomethingright It means that you built something, created something, or helped someone so much that they are willing to turn around and help you!

As an example, here is one of our happy customers that I check in with personally all of the time:

 Words from a happy customer of theBrewRoom:

As a new doggie daycare and overnight boarding business owner, I needed a website that was not only eye catching, but user friendly as well. Not knowing a lot about websites and how they work “behind the scenes” I needed someone that could help me think on a business and creativity level the best way to run and design my website to maximize on the visibility of my site over my competitors. I could not be happier with Sam and all of his help, input and most importantly patience. He paid attention to my goals and came up with extremely thorough solutions until we found the perfect fit. He provided ideas and feedback, met with me on a regular basis constantly ensuring we were both on the same page and was EXTREMELY prompt with completing tasks and responding to my questions. I definitely would not have been able to do this without Sam. He was awesome to work with and my website hits have increased tremendously in just a couple of months!

~Courtnay Rowan – Friendly Paws Pet Resort, Robinson, PA

Well, Sam, what if I haven’t received any happy-customer feedback like you did?
Well, “insert your name here“, you can just ask! I actually sent out a nice little email asking my clients if they would be willing to write up a testimonial for me and my business. It was really simple. I have a MailChimp list of all of my clients, and I email them once in a while to update them on what I am doing, and to see if they have any needs. You never know when a past client is going to need something more from you, so stay in touch!

Now, we know that all of your clients won’t be willing, or able to do this for you. Heck, you might not even want certain clients to speak on your behalf! 🙂 But, if you do have a few, that you know are happy, and you know would be willing to be an evangelist for your brand and your work, then let them know, and show them that you appreciate it.

The Bottom Line:

If you have happy customers that are spreading the word about you and how great you are, you have done something right, and you have free and credible advertising sources. There is nothing more effective than that. They may not tell 100 people a day. But, they are telling another living human being about you – directly. And they may even be able to answer some questions. That’s a heck of a lot more than a text add can do!

A Good Website Isn’t Just Pretty

Pretty Website != Good Website

( != means “does not equal” )

Pretty Website

If someone comes to your site, but can’t find the information that they are looking for, then your website has failed that user.

If someone comes to your website, and has to wait for some flashy presentation to appear and go through its motions before they can get to the actual site, then your website has failed that user.

It’s all about providing a good user experience.
If you make it easy for your site’s visitors to find what they are looking for – you win.
If you also make it visually appealing – big win.
If you make it each of those things, and do it across different viewing devices – HUGE WIN!

Good User Experience = Good Website

Well, that’s just our opinion…. Or is it? What do you think? Do you agree, disagree?

A good friend inspired me to write this today. Thanks Brad!

Small Business SEO Tip #2

This is the second in a series of posts about Search Engine Optimization for

In case you missed the first post, you can find it here: Small Business SEO Tip #1.

Tip #2 – Use a Content Management System

What is a Content Management System?

Small Business SEO TipsA content management system (CMS) is exactly as it sounds. It is a system that you use to build the structure and content of your website. It consists of at least a few components: a database, page format template(s), and a back-end management tool. There are a lot of moving parts and details that I didn’t list here, as I don’t want to make this an overly technical piece. Basically, you use a CMS to build the structure of your site, and to add/edit the content of your site. This includes text on the pages, media storage (images, video, documents), user access and so much more!

Why is a Content Management System Important?

A content management system allows you to maintain your website more easily than if your site were to be developed from scratch using static HTML or another web programming language. Meaning, you don’t need to know a programming language in order to edit the pages of your website. You won’t need to know how to create a new page from scratch, upload it to your server and add it to your menu/navigation. There are tools within the CMS that do this stuff for you.

You can even give multiple people access to your CMS to perform different tasks for you. This can be anything from Administrative access to the full system, the ability to add new content, just edit existing content, or just view existing content. There are LOTS of options here if you aren’t able to constantly maintain a site yourself.

Say you wanted to move some things around on your main navigation of your website. This would be VERY easy using any of the top CMS tools out there. If you wanted to do this on a static HTML website, then you would have to edit the code yourself, assuming you even have access to do that.

What are the best Content Management Systems?

In our opinion, WordPress is the most versatile, user-friendly, as well as feature-rich CMS out there. You can run anything from a simple blog about your morning coffee, to a full e-commerce site on WordPress. There are also thousands of plugins and themes that you can use to make your site look more unique and to add functionality that you would otherwise need to hire someone to develop for you.

Here are some popular content management systems:

Popular CMS Tools:

  • WordPress
  • concrete5
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • Expression Engine
  • Orchard Project

Popular e-Commerce CMS Tools:

  • Prestashop
  • Magento
  • OpenCart
  • Shopify
  • ZenCart

Here is a more expanded list of content management systems, should you need more information.

How do I Know Which CMS is Best For My Needs?

There are several factors that might influence your choice in content management systems. Sometimes, you are locked into a web hosting agreement that requires you to pick a CMS that will work on that hosting environment. You would need to check with your hosting provider and see which operating system and software their web servers will support – Apache, PHP, Microsoft, Java, etc…

You may also be previously familiar with a CMS and want to stay with it, since you’re most comfortable with it.

Your choice in web design and development companies will also have a lot to do with what CMS you end up using. Some companies will prefer one system over another. theBrewRoom prefers WordPress, for the reasons listed above.

That should cover it for today. We hope that you find these tips to be helpful! If there is something that you have a question about, or if you have a suggestion for a future Tip post, let us know.

Thanks for reading!