Flexbox fundamentals with Wes Bos

I’ve had the chance to play with Flexbox for a while on a few different projects and it’s been super handy. Flexbox allows you to do things that floats just make you scream and pull your hair out.

Although very simple, flexbox can be a bit tricky, especially when using it in a WordPress theme where you may not have full control of how the HTML is generated ( i.e. menus and search box). One of the best guide for using flexbox is Chris Coyier’s “Complete Guide to Flexbox“. I constantly refer back to this guide every time I’m using flexbox.

A few months ago, Wes Bos released a series of videos at Flexbox.io. I was curious about these and so signed up, got the videos, but hadn’t had the chance to go through them until this week. I spent a couple of days listening and playing around with the code. Although, most of the information was a review for me, the videos clarified quite a few things and highlighted very important points. I even burst out laughing when Wes said, “now this is when people normally say, What? This flexbox stuff doesn’t work“. I had literally just said something very similar.

I must admit, I’m not a big fan of video tutorials. I would rather just see code and read a brief explanation, but these were fabulous. Wes explains things very well, he’s very clear and repeats the most important points frequently. Best of all, the videos are free, so you should really check them out if you haven’t had a chance yet.

In Video 13, Wes introduces gulp and node which he uses for auto prefixing. I had some issues installing all of this and since I never write CSS, but work with Sass instead, I opted to use mixins instead and as always, a quick search lead me to a great collection that fits the bill.

A big thanks to all you fabulous people sharing knowledge online. You’re awesome.

A five year old’s take on branding.

Companies spend thousands of dollars on branding and logos. Ohio-based identity designer Adam Ladd showed his 5-year-old daughter popular logos and asked her to comment on them. Some of these are most likely familiar to her and thus her comments aren’t surprising, but others are very interesting. This video reminds us that we can learn so much from children.

Why isn’t Google picking up your site?

It’s inevitable. You build a site or pay someone to do this for you, insert all your content, do some testing, launch and finally breathe. Everything is great, wonderful and you’re so pleased until you start getting emails saying something like:

“I searched for your site but couldn’t find it.”

Now why is that? Why isn’t Google picking up your site?

One of the first thing I do when launching a WordPress site is use the Google XML sitemaps plugin. With just one click, this plugin allows you to submit your XML sitemap to search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com allowing them to better index your blog.

Now this alone won’t guarantee you a number one spot on Google. In fact nothing will. SEO is much more complex than that and needs to be looked at constantly.

Common Craft have been making videos explaining technology for numerous years and today they released another one explaining Search Engine Optimization. Their videos are always brilliant and this one is no exception. I was most please to see hear Lee mentioning dodgy links. Paying for inbound links and attempting search engine manipulation will only make you look untrustworthy.

How to add tags and categories to your blog post

Tags and categories are a great way to organize your blog content. Categories allow you to group posts together like dishes in a menu; while tags are more specific, like ingredients of a dish. I’m often asked if one should use both. The answer, of course depends on your needs. The Bluelime Media blog at the time of writing has 254 posts, 11 categories and 51 tags. I’ve tried to keep things organized and keep having to tweak things, but I think this number is appropriate for me. A much larger blog, like TechCrunch, which publishes multiple times a day, would need many more tags and categories.

Contrary to what some people may tell you, your tags and categories are for your users and NOT Search Engines. Adding as many tags to your blog posts as possible will not improve your search engine ranking, so please be kind to your users and keep them in mind.

WordPress makes it very easy to add tags and categories. The following video by Micheal Pick walks you through the process.

Writing and Publishing Posts in WordPress

If you are new to WordPress, one of the first thing you’ll need to learn is how to write and publish posts. This short video by Michael Pick covers this topic very elegantly. The video is a few years old and your dashboard may not look exactly the same, but the principles are the same and this should give you a great starting point.

Social Media works in mysterious ways

I’ve participated in a few “Ask The Experts” panels in the past few months and couldn’t help but notice that Social Media is quite the hot topic right now. People are very keen in learning how to use Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc… Most attendees are curious about how it works, why anyone would invest the time and energy, what’s the ROI and if it’s the right avenue for their business. These are all good questions and there are simply no easy answer. It really depends on who your audience is and where they are.

A funny thing happened to me last Friday which demonstrates how complicated and unpredictable it is to explain the power of Social Media.

I have a Twitter account and follow mostly designers and WordPress developers. This allows me to find out about latest tips, tutorials and website development news. Cameron Moll posted a tweet to a “mesmerizing” YouTube video which caught my attention. I clicked the link and watched a video taken at Kuroshio Sea which is the 2nd largest aquarium in the world.

The video is indeed breathtaking, but I was curious about the music. I watched and listened to the video a couple of times and wanted to find out who was singing. Using my iPhone, I Shazammed it and got the name of the song, band and album. A quick search on YouTube led me to a video of Barcelona singing live in San Diego. I watched a few more videos and decided to visit Barcelona’s page on MySpace. Listened to a few more clips and then I was off to iTunes and bought the album.

I’m not sure that a marketer could have predicted this, but I’m convinced that Social Media is worth investing in.

WordPress TV is a great place for tutorials and demo

Earlier this year the folks at Automattic launched www.WordPress.tv, which is a new website to learn about all things WordPress. I just had a quick look and it looks like the list of videos is quite extensive (Click the how-to link for the list of videos. Personally I’m not sure this tab is appropriately labeled, but hey, I found the list.) The site also has a WordCampTV section where you can watch videos, slides and listen to audio clips.

This site is definitely worth bookmarking and investigating further.

WordPress 2.7 Coltrane

Named after Jazz Musician John Coltrane, WordPress 2.7 was released yesterday and promises breathtaking beauty and inspiration. I haven’t downloaded yet, but will do soon….

In the meantime check out the promotional video. It’s pretty sexy.

Web Search explained by Common Craft

The web wouldn’t be what it is without the ability to search. My home page is set to Google and use it to search for everything. Finding information is often quite tedious because there are so many web pages out there. Luckily a few tricks are available to allow you to refine your search.

Lee Fever at Common Craft has created this wonderful video explaining how web searches work and offers tips on how you can avoid being swallowed up by the web.

Web Search Strategies in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.