Tag Archives: WordPress

Pretty Sweet Tech: Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

Think about the last time you checked the hours of a business. Were you at home or running around town? Were you on a mobile device? Do you have a smartphone?

Statista.com shows that 48.71% of all web traffic comes from a mobile device. That number is estimated to climb higher in coming years. For this reason, many companies are adopting what they call “mobile first” strategies. This means they are optimizing their websites for smartphone screens and tablets. Sadly, this also means it may get harder for people without smartphones to access the information they need. Times are changing, and in some ways not for the better.

This also means libraries will have to adapt to stay relevant in a mobile-first world. Library customers are used to user experiences on Amazon, Google, and large department stores. If our library websites don’t have the same visual appeal, they probably won’t stay long. New customers will also be less likely to take action and come into the library.

So what can we do? If you’re familiar with web development, start by looking into responsive design and fluid layout as a way to make mobile-first happen. This will allow your content to automatically detect the size of the screen and display content properly. Just make sure your font sizes are legible and your objects are a good size for adult fingertips to activate. There are other ways to do this, including building a separate design for popular screen sizes, but that takes a lot more time and energy to maintain.

Mobile-first means we build for mobile, then make sure it works for desktop, rather than designing for desktop screens and hoping for mobile. If users have to scroll from side to side a lot, or zoom in and out to navigate and read text, they won’t stay on your site long. Next time you visit a website on your phone, think about why it works or doesn’t work for you, and why you click away. Stick with what works for your library.

But what if you’re not a developer, or don’t have that kind of time? Luckily, all you need are the right tools! WordPress is a great content management solution that makes it quick and easy to set up and maintain websites. Google “best responsive WordPress themes”. Choose one, make a quick test site, then hop on your mobile device and take it for a test drive. Can you read the text without zooming much? Can you click buttons without zooming, or missing the button? Is the navigation menu easy to use?

If that seems easier said than done, give me a call and we can walk through the steps of mobile-first design for your library’s website. If you already go through Nebraska Libraries on the Web, I can help you find a new, more responsive WordPress theme. If you want to make the switch, let me know at amanda.sweet@nebraska.gov.

To learn more about Mobile-first design, check out these resources:

Responsive, Mobile-First Design Matters Now More Than Ever (Intertech)

2019 Web Design Trends (Ironistic)

 

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Tips #4 & #5 for Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Nebraska Libraries on the WebQuick Tip #4: Save space by deleting unused images

Images and graphics can consume a lot of your storage space. WordPress makes it easy to handle these tricky items. You can always edit individual images and scale (shrink) the picture, but you might try removing your unused images first. On your Dashboard, go to Media -> Library, then click the drop-down that reads All Media Items and switch it to Unattached. Now you’ll see only items that are not currently being used on any page on your website. Getting rid of these will, of course, free up a bit more space that you can use for new photos!

Media Library Graphic

Quick Tip #5: Widgets

Your site already includes a ton of features that you’re probably not using. You can find many of them by going to Appearance, then Widgets. This provides a list of available widgets, tools that you can add to your sidebar, header, or footer. You’ll find widgets for Facebook, Goodreads, an event calendar, and more. To activate the widget, just click the widget’s title, then drag it over to the sidebar (or header or footer) section.

widgets graphic

Learn more about Nebraska Libraries on the Web in our previous Blog posts or contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.

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Tip #3 for Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Nebraska Libraries on the WebQuick Tip #3: Publicize with Jetpack

If you’ve been working to add content to both your website and your social networks, there’s an easier way. In your Dashboard, there’s a section for the Jetpack plugin. Among Jetpack’s settings is the Publicize feature. Just click Configure and you’ll be able to connect your website to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. Anything that you add to the site will be automatically pushed out to those social networks, so that your viewers will be able to see all of your announcements and photos, no matter which of your sites they’re using. Jetpack also includes sharing buttons that can be added to your posts, so that your readers can easily share your content on their own social networks.Wordpress Publicize Graphic

Learn more about Nebraska Libraries on the Web in our previous Blog posts or contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.

Improve your site with Jetpack graphic

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Tip #2 for Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Quick Tip #2: Create a page that points directly to another website

When you add a new page to your site (by going to Pages -> Add New), WordPress assumes that you’re creating a new standalone page to add to your site. But you can also create an empty “placeholder” page that will send visitors out to another website—say, your Facebook page or the website for your town or county. To do this, simply scroll down to the bottom of the screen and, in the Page Links To section, choose A Custom URL. Once you have your new “page” created, you can easily add it to your site’s menu!

Learn more about Nebraska Libraries on the Web in our previous Blog posts or contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.

Create a page that points directly to another website.

 

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Tips for Nebraska Libraries on the Web: Create a New Menu

Nebraska Libraries on the Web

Create a MenuQuick Tip #1: Create a new menu

The menu at the top of your WordPress site allows your visitors to easily find particular pages, but occasionally you might want to change it up (perhaps during summer reading). With WordPress, it’s easy to create multiple menus and swap them out at will. On your Dashboard, go to Appearance, then click on Menus. Your default menu will probably display on the screen, but you can click Create a New Menu and add selected pages and resources to it. Once you name it and save it, the menu will be available in the Customizer on your site (Appearance -> Customize). You can then swap out your default menu for the new menu with one click.

Learn more about Nebraska Libraries on the Web in our previous Blog posts or contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.

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