Top WordPress Plugins you NEED to Install

RRC Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Recently, I made a presentation to the local WordPress meetup at Red River College on the top plugins that I use and have proven to be the most relevant to my website work. Most of the attendees of the Winnipeg WordPress Meetup are hardcore developers and we are lucky enough to have several members of the meetup who actually work for Auttomatic. So cool.

That is to say, the pressure was on. As I see myself as a power WordPress user, not a developer, I learn more at these meetups than I give back. Sad but true. I leech information from these people like a fresh water lake bloodsucker.

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The Waterview Inn Brand and Website

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With a new name, new owner and a complete remodeling of this inn and restaurant in Kenora, Ontario, a new brand identity package was required. Immediately followed by a website that would provide a matching modern look and functionality that both informed potential customers and provide plenty of content for search engines to aid optimization of search results.

The new site had a menu management system in place where daily features can be easily highlighted, all menu items were searchable, and was closely tied into the existing (though rebranded) facebook page. A room reservation system was seamlessly tied into the site via an iframe linking to the external provider.

The Waterview Inn wordpress website logo brand builders

restaurant inn kenora

Corporate Portraits

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As need arises over the years I’ve donned the photographer’s mantle and taken quite a few corporate style portraits. I’ve found that it’s best to gather everyone for one sitting so the lighting is consistent as well as the size of the person within the frame is relatively the same throughout the company.

Corporate welcoming Video

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Though very basic, I wanted to light this corporate welcoming video in a professional manner. Using a three point lighting technique I altered it subtly for each subject. Sound was challenging due to a cold day and the heating/ventilation system kicking in at seemingly random moments.

Xplore TPI Website development and writing – a double story

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Xplore is the next generation of online magazine for Travel Professionals International. Formerly a download only magazine the new format is an online travel blog featuring location and topic sorting through categories, an ad platform, and a publishing process. The clean look hides a sophisticated implementation of WordPress.

Challenges inherent to this site:

- Multiple authors work on the site (I contribute writing articles to the website as well) which necessitated a method of handling multi-versioning of articles and an approval process.

- Articles can vary wildly by topic yet still needed categorization for easy searching and theme switches throughout the year.

- An ad deployment program needed to be researched, installed, and then customized to the publisher’s needs.

MacPherson West WordPress website launched

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MacPherson West needed a small eCommerce store to sell rehabilitative products direct to patients at a hospital.

The toughest challenge was selecting an ecommerce platform that wasn’t too robust for the administrators needs and that worked well with the theme of the site. Four different platforms were tested before WooCommerce was choosen to be implemented. WooCommerce was easy to use, supported the payment gateway required and allows for future growth of the product line.

The other large challenge with this site was it’s theme. While beautiful, the programming in the theme caused havok with the default pages in the ecommerce plugin. Eventually these issues were sorted out and both are functioning perfectly.

Top 10 Reasons for Business to move to WordPress

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Most people haven’t heard of WordPress, but that’s fine, you’re forgiven. It’s what it enables you to do that makes it powerful for business. Much in the same way that you don’t think about the factories that make the components of your house (ok, you might), WordPress is the system that allows you to run your website and much, much more. And those that have heard of it, from a few years ago, know it’s a blogging system of excellence but now, it’s much, much, more. It has become a robust content management system for very serious websites while retaining its ease of use to the casual user. If you don’t have a content management system for you business website, here are some good reasons to think WordPress:

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The Floating Lodge website development

Wordpress Website for The Floating Lodge
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This site is for an upscale, unique, lodge on Lake of the Woods, Ontario. They required a booking request engine, a specials feature, a clean site to reflect the high-end nature product, and a bold slide show.

Corporate Travel Solutions site port to WordPress

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A site that promotes a travel agency that deals exclusively with business travel. They need a site that they could manage and edit easily. They advertise heavily with Google Adwords and wanted to be able to tweak text as the ad campaigns success became clearer as it went on.

After several meetings concerning the look they were needing this theme was selected for it’s clean look and simplicity to alter. Furthermore, WordPress was the perfect CMS solution for the company as it gave them the keys to make changes as they needed without incurring further development expenses.

Luxury Liner Photos

Empress Luxury Liner bus photos at Assiniboine Park
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A day of fine weather produced some nice photos of this almost antique luxury liner for the client. The projects challenges were in finding locations large enough to park a bus and the lighting challenges of the interior. Continue reading

South Shore Brewing Co.

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Independent craft brewers logo and packaging design from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Logo design, brand definitions, stationary package, along with logo standards were the first phase of this project. Phase two will consist of a website and online presence. Packaging design to follow as well as graphics and signage for a retail presence for all of their upcoming brews.

Nova Scotia independent craft brewing.

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Bath Wear, Books, and Philosophy

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I’m not even going to say I follow John’s thoughts on these books, it hurts my head when I try, but every story is worth reading. I did the interior design, layout, and produced the print ready artwork for these two books in InDesign. Laying out long books, fast, is a sign that you’re getting deep into InDesign. I’m pleased to say that I built this second one even faster than the first. At any rate, if you have something to do that’s worth doing, put it off for a bit, and pick up these books for a read.

 

Ede’s Hungarian Hoods

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One of my most interesting clients, or at least, the most obscure distant one. Ede makes hawk hoods out of leather. Or eagle hoods, or falcon hoods, it really depends on the raptor you own as he’ll custom make a beautiful hood for your bird. His hoods are a “mixture” of Arab and Dutch design. And for the owner, custom fit leather gauntlets. Then send your purchase to you from Hungary where he lives. Granted it’s a very tiny market, not that many raptor hunters out there anymore, but at least he has a cool logo to promote his work.

All Seasons Heating and Cooling Logo

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The design of this logo present the unique challenge of polar opposites in services. As heating systems maintenance and installs plays a big role in their business, so does cooling systems. The logo had to reflect both, without reverting to the typical arrows in blue and red that many heating and cooling companies employ. The “sunflake” captures this spirit while the lowercase text indicates a friendly company and the bold font choice is indicative of industrial professionalism.

ESP Physiotherapy

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I have to admit, this was one of the longest names in a logo I’ve tackled. But the mark was designed to illustrate motion, science, sport and people in motion. As well as vaguely resembling the letters of the name. The colours were choosen to go with the decor designed by Interior Designers working on this high end physio therapy clinic.

ShooFly Logo

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Shoofly was a custom, handmade, shoe shop out of Calgary, that decided to not to pay my invoice after everything was complete. I now bill in stages. I still think it’s a great fit and nice logo unfortunately it’ll only be used for my own promotional purposes.

Grace Anne II Website

Grace Anne II website
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A vessel as elegant as this needed a website to match. The most stately ship on Lake of the Woods this site was designed to reflect the 80+ year history of the Grace Anne II. The site can be viewed here.