This is the fifth in a series of posts discussing how to set up and run a WordPress blog from a relatively experienced expert, which will feature many helpful and hopefully relevant tangents.
In the first article I discussed the first few steps involving sign-up, the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and your social media presence.
Then I looked at writing your first post using the WordPress content management system (CMS), in which I gave some helpful writing advice for first-time bloggers, and later I delved into the WordPress dashboard and its diverse world of widgets.
Last week I took an in-depth look the art of customising your existing WordPress template, either by using the free options available or with the Custom Designs upgrade.
Throughout the article, I used the same template as an example for guidance on customisation. However there are many other templates available to WordPress.com users, all of which can be customised in the same ways as the above link describes.
Here I’ll be recommending the best of those out-of-the-box templates to make your blog stand out from the crowd. The first 10 highlighted are fully responsive, meaning they will adapt to any screen size the site is viewed on.
Out of the entire FTSE 100, only two companies use responsive design. One of these is a Chilean mining company (Antofagasta), the other a UK based commercial property company (Land Securities Group).
Of the remaining 98 companies, 42 use dedicated mobile sites, while the other 56 do not provide a separate mobile experience from the desktop version of their site.
The Search Agency UK has revealed these results as part of its mobile experience scorecard, in which the mobile site performance of each of the FTSE 100 companies was evaluated.
Here’s a joyously surprising list brought to me by Andrew Warren Payne.
The headline is entirely factually correct, these websites are not responsive. Whether they should be or not is a matter for debate, and I hope one you will take up in the comments section.
There are pros and cons of going responsive and each organisation should be aware of its own ideal site strategy. I’m sure many of our readers know the UX and hence search boost of going responsive is now growing large enough to prove worthwhile, even in the face of much development time.
See what you think of this list.
Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan launched a new responsive website last year as the proportion of traffic from mobile devices began to creep up to 50%.
The revamp has led to impressive increases in traffic and conversions, as well as reductions in the site's bounce rate.
To find out more about what was involved in the move to responsive design, including the project duration, budget, agencies involved and the impact on visitor behaviour, I spoke to Anthony Nolan's digital marketing manager Sam Butler.
For more information on how charities are adapting to digital, read our blog posts on three content strategies from the non-profit sector as well as looking at how charities use Twitter and Pinterest.
In a world where device fragmentation is increasing, taking a mobile-first approach is yesterday's thinking.
There's no doubt that the smartphone has changed the way we all engage with the world around us.
We're all glued to apps on our mobiles (Flappy Bird anyone?). And website owners have seen the steady, inexorable rise in mobile traffic to their sites, which spawned the inevitable rethink about how web experiences are delivered on mobile devices (yes, I'm looking at you responsive design).
So it isn't surprising that the world is talking about making sure you take a 'mobile-first' approach. But I disagree.
The travel industry has experienced a great deal of upheaval in years characterised by swift change in customer habits and the impressive unwillingness of many companies to adapt.
To be fair, travel companies have come a long way in the past three to four years. Apps are now common place for airlines and some airports and travel websites are starting to adopt responsively designed websites.
In this post I’ll be taking a look at some recent studies into the mobile strategies of travel companies and airlines.
I’ll be pondering what the best approach is for these companies and whether in fact there’s no sense in avoiding apps or responsive websites, given their respective parts to play in the customer journey.
Responsive design posts are always popular on the Econsultancy blog. That's because people enjoy looking at beautiful things.
We've previously rounded up some of the best sites of 2013. We've also looked at the ins and outs of RWD and at some examples of responsive email.
I thought I'd add to our roundups and look at a brief selection of agencies with responsive sites.
Do have a play around with them by resizing your browser or accessing on mobile. There's a few screenshots for each and you can click through from the desktop images.
iWonder is the evocative name for the BBC’s new interactive guides. The name conjures childlike enquiry (I wonder!), ‘90s crisps (Golden Wonder) and fits nicely with the Beeb’s and Apple’s use of the stunted ‘iProductname’ format.
The guides are the BBC’s new content format, described as 'sit forward', allowing the user to learn by doing.
They organise video and audio, infographics, text and activities into stories.
I’ve been having a play with the guides and given some brief thoughts below. Do go and check them out, they’re a powerful tool for schoolchildren or older autodidacts.
A satisfying mixture of cutting edge web design, charming images and delightful usability makes the Visit Suffolk website a joy to get lost in, as much as the county itself.
Did I sound too much like an actual tourist board there?
Possibly, but it’s genuinely difficult not to be charmed by this site. Offering an experience that is not unlike exploring any attractive UK destination. In my experience I’ve certainly not found a tourism website quite so captivating.
Come with me and let’s take a little wander around the east coast…
Responsive design isn't just for the giants of ecommerce, your start-up business can also grab an off-the-shelf model for a reasonable price, or even for free.
Following on from David Moth's article 10 simple responsive Wordpress themes for small businesses and blogs I thought I would take a look at some of the best available templates for ecommerce sites.
If you run a small business, or are looking to make the leap from Etsy or eBay into your own domain, you could do a lot worse then looking at one of the following templates.
As a caveat, I haven't used any of these in their proper working forms, I've just played around with the demo versions, checking for customisability and whether the sites really do offer true responsiveness.
It would be worth doing your own investigation on each one before committing to buy. If you click on the images below, you will be taken through to the demo versions where you can check out the product, look at the custom options and of course the price of the product yourself.
Templates are available from many different vendors and the bulk of these are from independent designers, but first I'll take a look at the best designs available from Shopify.