Category Archives: WordPress

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

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!

WordPress Backup with Dropbox

Dropbox

Sign up for Dropbox

First of all, you should be backing up your WordPress database and files regularly. It depends on how often you are updating your site, but you should back up your site at least once a week. You never know when disaster will strike, and you don’t want to rely on your hosting company for backing up your hosting account.

Now that we have established that you need to be backing up your WordPress site, let’s talk about a really cool and easy option for backing it up.

WordPress Backup to Dropbox is a very easy to setup option, which (as the name implies) backs up your site to your Dropbox account.

There are very few settings to configure for this plugin.

  1. Link you existing Dropbox account
  2. Choose when you want the backup to occur
  3. Choose what files you want to ignore during the backups.

WordPress Backup to Dropbox

Once you link the plugin with Dropbox, you will get a confirmation email, as well as a confirmation on your screen. It’s really as simple as that. You should check back in after your scheduled backups to make sure that it is working properly. There is a Backup Log that will show you all of the details of you latest backup.

Project: Shadyside Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

theBrewRoom recently launched a new website for the Shadyside Chamber of Commerce. This new site is responsive (it changes to fit to the size of the device that you’re using) and is also optimized for search engines. You’ll find that if you search for just about anything in Shadyside, their website will appear! That’s the goal, and this is the result:

shadyside pittsburgh website project

This new WordPress website is easy for the client to manage themselves. This was one of the major requirements when they approached us about developing the new site for them. We also helped them set up a new hosting account that they can manage themselves. Empowering our clients!

If you are interested in learning more about our Website Design and Development Services, please contact us. We would love to hear from you, and we would love to help you.

Optimize Images for WordPress

Cloudinary Image Hosting Plugin

Do you have a WordPress website that has a good amount of images on it? If so, there’s a good chance that it takes a little bit longer to load than you would prefer. Web page load speed is an important SEO factor! If that’s the case, there is a Free WordPress Plugin available for Image Hosting. This plugin comes from Cloudinary and is called “Cloudinary – Image management and manipulation in the cloud + CDN“.

They have paid accounts, but the free account is plenty of power for most people:

Free Cloud Image Hosting

theBrewRoom is going to test out the service and update this post with feedback. If you’re already using it, do you have any feedback that our readers might find to be interesting? If so, please leave a message below!

 

In the meantime, here is a good review of the Plugin from WPMU.org.