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Nexcess Blog

Why Don’t More eCommerce Retailers Use Video?

July 30, 2015 0 Comments

eCommerce RetailersVideo is huge, yet the number of eCommerce retailers that take full advantage of video is vanishingly small. Even Amazon is tapping only a fraction of the potential of video for increased sales, conversions, and promotion.

Video is seen as being difficult and expensive, which partially explains the timidity of eCommerce retailers. In some cases that’s true, but it needn’t be, and the potential upside of a successful video strategy is more than worth the investment.

A recent article from EConsultancy gathered together case studies from six retailers who used video and found that conversion rates increased between 30 and 160%.

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Posted in: Nexcess

Assess Your WordPress Theme’s Accessibility with Tota11y

July 28, 2015 0 Comments

Color CombinationsAccessibility is not often at the front of our minds when we are choosing or designing a WordPress theme. We’re more concerned with aesthetics, functionality, and conversion potential. But ignoring accessibility excludes a huge proportion of our potential users.

Worldwide there are 285 million people with visual impairments, 39 million of whom are legally blind. There are almost as many people with hearing impairments, and a huge number with movement problems that make navigating the web difficult. That’s a lot of people who won’t be able to enjoy your site unless you invest a little time and effort to make it compatible with tools like screen readers.

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Posted in: Nexcess

Choosing Color Combinations For Your Site

July 23, 2015 0 Comments

Color CombinationsIf you aren’t a trained designer, choosing color combinations for your site can be a minefield. With layouts and typography, there are some relatively simple rules that will produce at least passably good results. But there are tens of millions of potential color choices and trillions of possible combinations. Hitting on colors that look good, look good together, and reflect the character and branding of your site is a hair-curling task for someone without training.

It’s also incredibly important to get color choices right. Some people go too far when they talk about the impact of color psychology, but there are measurable effects — both psychological and aesthetic — associated with particular colors.

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Install WordPress and PHP 7 on CentOS

July 21, 2015 0 Comments

With PHP 7 around the corner, we wanted to create a dev environment to test some apps and prepare for its arrival.

PHP 7 installation for CentOS is not difficult and can be found here. With the precompiled builds, we created a VM with the appropriate software to start testing WordPress: Apache2, MariaDB and PHP 7. For this VM, we used Vagrant and VirtualBox.

VM setup involves two files: Vagrantfile, with as a provisioner.

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WordPress’ New Security Czar Is Good News For The WordPress Community

July 16, 2015 0 Comments

Security CzarWordPress is a complex software ecosystem. Its huge userbase and an active developer community numbering in the tens of thousands make for a potential security nightmare, but, in fact, it functions surprisingly smoothly.

For users who hear only about the most recent security vulnerability, it might not appear so, but the widespread publicity of security vulnerabilities — almost always accompanied by a patch — is evidence that WordPress’ immune system is functioning properly.

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New Magento Community Edition Security Patch Released — Immediate Patching Is Advised

July 14, 2015 3 Comments

Magento has made available a new patch bundle that addresses several serious security vulnerabilities. Magento CE & EE users should update immediately to ensure that their eCommerce store and its users are not put at risk.

Among the vulnerabilities addressed are the potential leaking of customer information and cross-site scripting vulnerabilities.

The patch bundle — which is part of the recently released Magento Community Edition 1.9.2 — has been given the code SUPEE-6285, and is available from Magento’s site. Before applying the SUPEE-6285 patch bundle, you must also have applied SUPEE-5994, which is available at the above link.

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June 2015’s Best ExpressionEngine, WordPress, and Magento Content

July 6, 2015 0 Comments

HTTP2It’s been a spring of attending conferences for the Nexcess team and the month of June was no different. First, we were at IRCE in Chicago discussing Magento and PHP. Then last week we were in London for Magento Live UK 2015. One of the big themes of the latter event was Magento 2, and you’ll notice that we include a couple of articles that look at where the world’s most popular eCommerce platform is headed. Social and mobile are also becoming major influencing factors in eCommerce, an idea that is explored in posts below. So before we spoil all the articles we included, here’s the best WordPress, Magento, and ExpressionEngine articles from June 2015. If you’re looking for the same great content on a day-to-day basis, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Enjoy and let us know if we missed anything important in the comment section. Read more

Posted in: Monthly Roundups

How Will HTTP2 Change Front-End Performance Best Practices?

July 2, 2015 0 Comments

HTTP2In an ideal world, front-end designers shouldn’t have to waste much time on the details of performance optimization. Sure, they have to make sure their web pages aren’t excessively large, but the bulk of performance optimization should take place at a lower level: the server and its software, the network, and the technology and protocols that let servers talk to each other and to browsers. In reality, designers spend a considerable amount of time optimizing how their assets will be served to reduce load times: concatenating files, inlining CSS, creating CSS sprites, even sharding assets across several domains.

Much of this extra work is done simply to get around the limitations of HTTP/1.1, which was first released nearly 20 years ago and has been out-of-date ever since. Created for a web that bears little resemblance to today’s complex ecosystem of applications and media rich sites, HTTP/1.1 has major limitations, the most relevant of which is the way it makes requests expensive.

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Is Ghost a Viable WordPress Alternative?

June 30, 2015 0 Comments

Ghost WordPress AlternativeWhen WordPress was first created by Matt Mullenweg, he was scratching his own itch; he wanted a simple-to-use blogging engine — and that’s what WordPress used to be. Over the years, it has grown into something much more powerful. WordPress is now a superbly feature-rich content management system with an enormous collection of extensions and themes — if you want to build a website of any sort, WordPress is more than capable of supporting it.

Some people just want to blog, though. They don’t need all the extra bells and whistles. They want what Mullenweg wanted when he first created WordPress, and that’s the itch Ghost creator John O’Nolan set out to scratch. He aimed to build a simple elegant blogging engine that does everything a blogger needs but no more. He succeeded admirably. Ghost is an excellent blogging engine.

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Book review: Magento Best Practices

June 25, 2015 2 Comments

Magento Best Practices HandbookFrom time to time, someone publishes a book about Magento that provides worthwhile advice for both for expert and inexperienced developers. Alessandro Ronchi recently published Magento Best Practices Handbook, an eBook providing tips and strategies understandable to anyone that already understands the fundamentals of Magento development.

At 115 pages, the handbook is not long, but it covers essential subjects such as autoload, logging, runtime, Magento MVC, and a simple, powerful strategies for deployment. With short, accessible chapters, the work advises readers to already have a running Magento installation so they can explore its code while studying the handbook’s contents.

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Posted in: Nexcess