Texelate's Blog


July 16th, 2014

If you’ve ever adjusted the letter-spacing on a link and applied text-decoration or border you’ll have noticed that the line seems too long. It’s not really too long, it’s that letter-spacing is added on a per-letter basis after each letter. What you want is for the last letter to have 0 letter-spacing.

You’d think this would be easier enough to achieve with a CSS selector but alas the best available is first-letter.

I looked at some JavaScript/JQuery ways but found them a bit messy and convoluted. It’s very easy to do with PHP, however: Read more »

June 11th, 2014
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. This post does not constitute legal advice; always consult a lawyer. This is just my personal experience in dealing with open source JavaScript and reading the licenses that came with scripts I’ve used.

There’s an expression that “there is nothing new under the sun”. When it comes to building a website that’s almost true. Even with a bespoke site it’s practically impossible not to rely on open source JavaScript—the programming language that handles all the fancy bells and whistles on websites. Whether you want a slick image gallery or a fancy form widget there’s normally something out there you can use for free that saves you reinventing the wheel.

Some developers indiscriminately use any script they find on the Internet on their clients’ sites without really checking if they’re free to do so. Just because something is available to download on the Internet doesn’t mean that you can do exactly what you want with it.

Here is some simple guidance for developers on how to use open source JavaScript on your site without running into trouble. Read more »

January 31st, 2014

Are you creating a new website from scratch — one that you hope will attract massive numbers of visitors and possibly even convert them into customers? If so, you may wonder where to begin on such an important project. Here are some of the major points to keep in mind:



Essential pages

Have you ever wondered why every website on Earth seems to have certain primary pages in common, such as Home, About Us, Services, Contact and so forth? That’s because over the two decades since the World Wide Web first wove its spell on the public consciousness, people have become conditioned to look for these pages first. After all, these pages answer the basic questions we all have. What do you do? What’s your mission, vision and history? What products or services do you provide, in a nutshell? How can we contact you? Don’t get too clever about where you place this information on your site, because the average visitor only has a few seconds’ worth of patience to tax before he moves on to his next potential provider. Read more »

January 30th, 2014

If you’re testing for an empty string in PHP you could be forgiven for using the empty() function. However, exercise caution as empty() may not do what you think it does.

PHP treats 0 and ’0′ as empty. Take the following:

$var = '0';

if(empty($var)) {

    echo 'true';
    
}
else {

    echo 'false';
    
}

The above will echo true even through $var is a string with a single character in. Empty space, however, is not considered empty. Read more »

January 23rd, 2014

When choosing an eCommerce platform it can be extremely daunting; there are so many options out there. Most of your available choices can be grouped into one of three categories—all of which are mentioned in this blog title. Here I give an overview of each option and list what I consider to be the pros and cons.

Note that you should not listen to anyone who insists that one is “better” than the others. As with most things it’s a case of choosing the right tool for the right job and the person telling you this is no doubt doing so because it suits them and not you.

So, here are the three eCommerce platforms (in no particular order): Read more »

December 27th, 2013

While it may seem like choosing a domain name is as simple as pulling a catchy name out of a hat, far more is involved with successfully establishing a brand and name for your business or blog. Choosing the right domain name is a critical part of any business start-up or marketing initiative. By nailing it from the beginning, you can immediately incorporate brand building into the site creation process.

Semantic Success

Have you ever tried to input a domain name for which one of the words in the address had multiple spellings? If so you know how frustrating and challenging it can be. Sticking with a domain name with only one spelling removes any ambiguity from the equation and more easily brings visitors to your website. This also applies to numeral substitutions; avoid confusion by sticking with proper words as opposed to their numeric variation: for example, use “for” instead of “4.”

Another complication involves hyphens: if people remember to use them, they often can’t remember where they go. When choosing your domain name, the consistent goal is to engage and grow an audience. Clarity and ease are vital to success. If potential customers can’t remember your name or how to spell it, or are unable to overcome tricky punctuation or slang, you’ve failed before you even began. Read more »

December 20th, 2013

When it comes to work I like to think of myself as a pragmatic person. I’ve been building websites for a while now—since 2000. In that time, I’ve been exposed to the various facets of web design. I’ve studied it as a student, I’ve worked in the public sector, for a software company and for a digital marketing agency. I use Macs, have a love for Linux and yes, I do own a machine that runs Windows. I have a phone that runs Android and a tablet that runs iOS. I’ve programmed in Java, C++ and .NET.

I’m saying this to show that when it comes to my web design work, I don’t fully gravitate towards any particular platform or technology and I will rarely fully dismiss any option. What you read below (and infer from the blog title) may sound like a diatribe against WordPress but let me assure you it’s not.

I like open source software. And I like WordPress. I think it has its niche in the field of open source web platforms. What I take issue with—and what is the driving force behind this blog post—is the attitude and opinion of those that insist that WordPress is something that is isn’t. Furthermore, I believe WordPress (through no fault of its own) has created a breed of diabolical websites and web designers. Read more »

December 18th, 2013

Because PHP is loosely typed sometimes how it treats and converts variables can be confusing. However, by running a simple test script we can get a better idea of how things work.

The tests below run three tests for each variable:

  1. Run an equals operator (==)
  2. Run an identical operator (===)
  3. Cast to a bool and the examine the resulting variable

Here’s the code: Read more »

December 2nd, 2013

Your website may get thousands of hits every day, but you won’t make money until you find a way to convert this traffic into revenue. Successfully monetizing a website involves both a savvy business perspective and a keen understanding of your audience.



A Banner Technique


Display advertising is a popular form of website monetization consisting of banner and text advertisements. This method can be quite lucrative, but only under certain conditions: not only must you have a significant amount of traffic, you must also have the right audience.



In the case of display advertising, “right” is relative: advertisers looking to sell the newest video game target completely different users than those selling anti-aging skin cream. In order to profit from display advertising, website owners must broker the perfect fit between a valuable audience and interested advertisers. Read more »

December 2nd, 2013
This is a guest blog by William Reynolds written specifically for this website; the author is responsible for the content

Effective copywriting involves much more than putting the punctuation marks in the right places and managing not to split your infinitives. Here are some common strategic copywriting errors that can scuttle your marketing campaign before it ever has a chance to leave the harbor: Read more »