Google’s mobile-first search index has rolled out to a handful of sites

This move from Google is a pretty significant change in the way they index sites - but a logical one, since stats show that over 60% of searches are now done from mobile devices. The good news is that if your site is mobile responsive you shouldn't need to do anything - in fact you may even see your rankings improve as sites that aren't mobile responsive drop down.

Just over a year ago, Google announced a major change to the way its search index will rank sites: it will go mobile-first. As the company explained at the time, Google’s algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank its pages, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from the site in its search results. This week, Google said it has begun to make this shift – and has already transitioned a handful of sites to the mobile-first index, which are now being monitored by the search team.

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Introducing a New and Improved Campaign Builder

If you haven't already checked out the changes MailChimp have made to their campaign builder, check out this article to find out how their improving the experience.

When we talked with customers about the step-by-step process, we learned that it wasn’t the right solution for everyone. “The campaign builder makes us finish steps we’re not ready for,” is something we heard a lot. So, we decided it was time to update the way emails are built in MailChimp. Here’s how we redesigned the campaign builder to look and work like a checklist, giving you the power to create an email in any order you want.

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Examples of Print-Inspired Website Designs

Drawing inspiration from other media is a great way to ensure your website stands out from the pack. Check out these print inspired web designs!

Web design has always drawn inspiration from print. Whether it’s content layouts, typography, or image placement, print is always a worthy point of reference given its longevity. Websites today continue to be inspired by print design, with many shifting to text content-heavy designs as opposed to the more visual approaches we have become so accustomed to. There’s also a rise in websites using a palette of simple blacks for typography and off-white for backgrounds.

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Happy Birthday Wordpress!

Wordpress last week celebrated 15 years since its inception. Originally a blogging platform it has grown to a full-blown CMS used by more than 1 in 4 sites on the Internet today!

Thank you Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little for creating WordPress, its contributors for keeping the ball rolling all these years, and providing opportunities for so many people. Happy birthday WordPress!

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13 Ways to Speed Up WordPress Site

Some great tips for speed here - we especially love using CloudFlare!

Improving your website’s speed is something you should worry about the most when optimizing your site, and there are many tools you can use to improve its speed!

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Tips & Resources for Using WooCommerce Hooks

Here are some resources and tips to get you started with working with WooCommerce Hooks!

WooCommerce has proven itself to be a popular and formidable WordPress e-Commerce plugin. Its biggest strength is the fact that it can be customized in so many ways. There are a massive amount of free and paid extensions that can do everything from integrating third-party services all the way to allowing for complex products and orders. The following are some basic examples of hooks that will demonstrate just a tiny bit of what they’re capable of. Then we’ll share some excellent resources where you can find useful code snippets and advice.

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What I know after a decade in design

With milestones come a time for both celebration and reflection. Finding mentors in your career path is a fantastic way to constantly improve and develop. Some great lessons for both old and new designers alike!

2018 will be the year that marks my first decade as a designer. Wow… crazy. Sometimes I still feel like a junior designer, but when I look back on myself ten years ago, I can see just how much I’ve learned. I want to share with you some of the things I’ve learned over the years. As it turns out, many are not so much about design, per say, as about mindset and attitude.

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It’s Easier to Find a Solution (With Someone Else)

Really this article could be about almost anything, not just programming. Especially here in the Western world we tend to want to be independent and do everything by ourselves, but sometimes you just need to ask for help from someone who isn't already buried in the problem.

One of the most frustrating aspects of programming is working on a solution to a problem and bumping up against something that we should know how to do or be able to figure out how to do, but we’re unable to do so.

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12 Tips Nonprofits Can Use to Get Online Donations

Love this infographic from Campaign Monitor with some really easy steps to focus on improving your online donations

Accepting donations online is a no-brainer for nonprofits and their donors. Giving online is easy for donors, as they can contribute anytime they find convenient, instead of relying on an ask through direct mail or at an event.

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9 Design Tips For Email Marketing

In the digital world of today email matters more than ever! Here's some design tips to make them look amazing.

Email marketing allows you to reach your target audience right in their inboxes. And it can earn your business an incredible ROI— up to $44 for every $1 you spend! But creating a campaign can be frustrating if you’re worried that a lack of design skills is preventing you from getting the results you want. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a designer to create killer emails. Most email marketing platforms, like MyEmailFX, allow you to choose from an array of pre-designed email templates. However, you’re probably still going to need to select some design elements like your colors, fonts, and images. In this post, we’ll cover nine tips to help you create emails that look great and earn your business more revenue online.

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The total list of domain extensions (2017 Infographic)

While this infographic may be outdated now that we have moved into 2018, It's surprising to see how many domain extensions their are currently available.

You surely know .com, .net or .info domain names. You have probably also heard about – or even registered – domains ending with .de, .fr and co.uk. You might even be aware of the new breed of domain extensions such as .club or .marketing. But did you know that the total list of domain extensions is 882? 882! The infographic below is a timeline from 1985 to 2017, which lists the birth year of every domain extension since .com in 1985.

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Does Anyone Use Social Sharing Buttons on Mobile?

Whilst social sharing buttons are a great addition to desktop design. Mobile users seem more likely to use be using native sharing features than clicking on the sharing buttons built into your website. Definitely check this article out.

Visit a lot of websites, and you’ll see precious screen space dedicated to social sharing buttons on mobile websites, imploring users to share the content on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other social networks. At first, this seems like a good design choice: social media usage on mobile is huge. Pinterest relies on mobile browsers for 64% of its referred traffic. And over half a billion people access Facebook solely through mobile – a 78% year-over-year increase. Overall, sixty percent of the time consumers spend on social media is on mobile.

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How debugging can make you a better developer

I don't think I've ever met a developer who enjoyed debugging code - especially someone else's code! But this article makes a very strong case for how important debugging is to improving your programming skills.

Whether you’re a WordPress developer or not, you’re always looking for ways to improve yourself. That’s the nature of our profession. We’re always looking for ways to improve ourselves. That said, it’s not uncommon for developers to hate debugging. They’ll get a bug report and cry in exasperation, “I want to build stuff! Not fix bugs!” But that’s not the right attitude to have towards bugs and debugging in general.

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How to Analyze and Speed up Your Website

Thanks to the rise of mobile devices and the sheer magnitude of content available on the wide web, Good website performance is now more important than ever as users no longer have the motivation to wait around for slow sites. Here's an article that provides some tips and tricks for optimising the performance of your website! At Brown Box we love using GTMetrix and a variety of other tools to gather data on website performance so that we can implement strategies to fix it!

Having your website load pages quickly and efficiently is more important than ever, not just from the stand point of ranking higher in search engines but also from a user experience point of view. Back in 2006, Amazon published information showing that for every 100 milliseconds faster their website got, their revenue increased by 1%. Recent Google data also indicates that users will spend 70% more time on your site if it loads in under 5 seconds.

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Creating a Custom Table with PHP in WordPress

A nice introduction to custom database tables in Wordpress - what to consider before creating them, and how to use the tools provided by Wordpress to do so.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create a custom table in WordPress or why you would ever want or need to? WordPress comes with many different ways to store data out-of-the-box. Luckily for us, WordPress is flexible enough that we aren’t forced to shoehorn our every need into the ready-made solutions that come with it.

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Intro to The 8-Point Grid System

An interesting look into how designers are using 8 pt grid systems to speed up their teams workflow.

design ui ux 

If you’ve ever shopped online, you’ve experienced the hesitation when you click purchase and the credit card entry form looks different from the rest of the site. A little consistency goes a long way.

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How to Add HTML5 Video to WordPress Using Custom Fields

HTML5 Content is both extremely engaging and increasingly popular among users. Check out this article to find out how to add it to your WordPress site using custom fields.

Generally speaking, if you ask 10 WordPress developers how to do something, you’ll receive ten different answers. But that speaks to both the versatility of the CMS and that there is more than one solution to any given task. Recently, I faced the challenge of setting up an HTML5 video inside a WordPress page. It’s in a static location and would need to be replaced every so often. While it’s fine to use the Video Shortcode, in this case I wanted to make things extra simple for the folks who would be updating the page. I didn’t want them to have to learn what a Shortcode was or how to use it. So, the simplest solution (in my mind, anyway) was to create some custom fields where the related video files could be uploaded. From there, the theme’s template would automatically create the necessary code to display the video. Here’s how I did it:

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Goodnight Firebug

As for many other developers, Firebug has for a long time been one of the indispensible tools I use constantly. It's going to take some time to get used to not having it around. *sniff*

Firebug was the first browser-based tool that allowed developers to easily inspect HTML and debug JS. It was discontinued as a separate add-on and merged into Firefox DevTools in 2016 where it will live on.

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