Darkstar Media: Blog Categories

Category Archives: Wordpress Development

New website launch – The Sanderson Group

Jim Sanderson GroupThis week we are happy to announce the launch on a new brochure website for The Sanderson Group. For this project we handled both the graphic design work as well as the development.

The graphic design work had to stay within the Scotia Wealth Management branding standards, so we worked hand in hand with their branding team. For the development we created a custom WordPress theme using Twitter Bootstrap as our main CSS backbone. Bootstrap is great for creating responsive website design so the site will look great on any device.

New eCommerce website for my Artwork

justin blayney fine art shopI am happy to announce the launch of my upgraded website www.justinblayney.com. What is different from my old site is that I have now included an eCommerce component to my website where you can buy my hand made silk screen prints online in a few easy steps. These prints are a great way to acquire affordable fine art. Please check it out, share with your friends and I am open to all feedback about my website.

This website was created using WordPress and WooCommerce. I custom made the theme using twitter bootstrap.

New responsive website launched

Evan Thompson and Associates websiteWe are pleased to launch a new responsive website  for Evan Thompson and Associates. This website was rebranded, slimmed down, optimized, and uses our very own Twitter Bootstrap WordPress Theme for the responsive framework. On top of the Wordpress theme we developed, we also built a custom media gallery plugin to manage their extensive articles that they write for many major news outlets.

Using Twitter Bootstrap for Web Design and Development

thinkinsure twitter bootstrap websiteWe have recently jumped on the Twitter Bootstrap bandwagon and are very happy with the decision. If you don’t know, Twitter bootstrap is a web framework that is “mobile first”. When they developed the framework they solved many of the issues that web developers face when dealing with responsive design such as how columns will collapse and stack as the screen gets smaller, re-sizing images to the device, managing device specific content, plus many more.  Traditionally we built websites that looked great on the desktop, then would add CSS and javascript to make it look good on mobile devices. With this approach we had to pick certain mobile browsers sizes to concentrate our efforts on such as the  iPhone and iPad (as the were the most popular). If you go to any smart phone retailer now you will see a huge variety of screen sizes, so with our original approach many of these new screen sizes would have wonky looking websites.

So using bootstrap and a mobile first approach our websites now look good on every device and screen size. Over the last 6 months we have developed a custom bootstrap website (thinkinsure.ca) and a WordPress Bootstrap theme (memorycentre.ca and roofing-solutions.ca).

Custom Bootstrap Website: thinkinsure.ca

This project was 6 months in the making. Darkstar Media handled both the design and development of this insurance company website. We worked hand in hand with thinkInsure’s SEO specialist and made sure the user experience was great for all devices and is fully optimized for search engines.

WordPress Bootstrap Theme: memorycentre.ca and roofing-solutions.ca

These are the first 2 completed websites to use the Darkstar Media WordPress bootstrap theme. The theme is simple to customize because of the bootstrap framework. It has custom callouts (calls to action) for the home page and internal pages which are very easy to manage. For memorycentre.ca we also designed their logo and set up their social media presence.

roofing-solutions.ca Bootstrap WordPress themememorycentre.ca Bootstrap WordPress theme


4 new responsive WordPress websites launched


We have been quite busy at Darkstar Media recently. Over the last month we have launched 4 responsive WordPress websites. Edson Legal, Monster Gym, Construction DIB, and Vault Mortgage.

edson legalMonster Gym

vault mortgage
construction dib

Responsive WordPress Theme Developed for Blue Chip Leasing

Blue Chip LeasingWe are happy to announce the launch of another great new website, Blue Chip Leasing. We both designed and developed this website. The content management system used for this website is WordPress and it is fully responsive.

Special attention was paid to 3 key areas of the website and Blue Chip’s main services, Broker Partners, Vendor Partners, and Equipment Leasing. For these key areas we created Calls to Action on the home page as well as the sidebars.

Responsive Website Launched: Triton Background Checks

Triton Background Checks

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new website, Triton Background Checks. This is a fully responsive hand coded website which has web form integration and clear “calls to action” which  lead users towards filling the forms. It works seamlessly with a WordPress blog which is used to handle all the latest news articles and company announcements.

Special attention was paid to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). They are currently on page one of Google and we plan to keep them there.


The Benefits of Adding a WordPress Blog to your Website – Part 2

Today’s post is a follow up from last week’s post when I talked about how important it is to add a blog to your business website. As I wrote the post, questions I felt my readers might have kept popping up in my mind and to keep last week’s post from turning into a three thousand word opus in which I would lose some of my readers; I opted to split the topic into two separate blog posts. It’s great to list the “whys” of blogging but without the “how’s”; I felt I was leaving you all with more questions than answers. Today I will attempt to answer those questions.

As we discussed in last week’s post, having a strong internet presence is essential to the growth and success of not just your internet business, but brick and mortar businesses as well. Blogging is an easy, low cost way of upping your internet presence and getting you the recognition your brand needs to grow.

What Do I Blog About?

While this part may seem like a no brainer, a lot of people struggle to come up with topics; particularly if your brand involves a product or service that only pertains to a select portion of the population.

Obviously you’ll want to blog about topics concerning your niche such as, new research involving your area of expertise, but you’ll need to branch out topic wise to connect with other readers. Other readers who will share your content on their own social media pages should always be in your sights as well.

Coming up with relevant topics to engage these “other readers” can be difficult but it isn’t impossible. Writing about strategies you use with your employees or vendors, helpful ways to connect with customers or how to lists are all useful and relevant topics which will help get your blog noticed.

What Format Should I Use?

In this day and age, with so many of us getting or news and information in small chunks on the internet, it’s very useful to post in small chunks. That stuff you learned in high school English? Keep the grammar and sentence structure but the rest you need to let go of in the blogging world.

Splitting up your paragraphs the way I’m doing now is very effective in retaining readers. We have now trained ourselves to scan more than read in depth. Every time you break up your paragraphs, you’re making it easier for your reader to stay interested in what you have to say.

Headings and subheadings are important! Having headings separate different positions in your posts making it easier for people to read and it helps with SEO. Create your subheadings and bold them. It catches the reader’s eye when they’re scanning your piece.

WordpressGraphics matter too! Break up your text with pictures. It relaxes the eye and makes your piece more engaging as do bulleted lists.

How Often Should I Post?

Consistently posting engaging content without overwhelming your readership can be difficult to balance. Posting often helps your business rise in search engine rankings but posting too often may cause some readers to lose interest.

A good rule of thumb is to strive for two posts a week. You want your readers excited to read your posts but you don’t want them to have to wait for too long for new content or they may lose interest in your blog.

The same can be said for posting too often. You want to post just enough to keep your readers wanting more. Twice a week, possibly a Monday and a Friday, works to keep a nice balance.

Some of you may be asking about word count right about now. Word count, while important for SEO, should be taken with a grain of salt, meaning … say what you need to say and no more. Try to keep it short and sweet while getting your message across. If a post is too long … you risk readers disengaging. If it’s too short … you miss out on SEO. At least 500 words should do the job for SEO.

What If I’m Short On Time, Or My Writing Skills Aren’t Up To Par?

The solutions to both of these problems go hand in hand. First, the more you write, the better your writing skills will get. So even if you feel your writing skills aren’t the greatest, you should still blog. There are a few things you can do to help you along while you strengthen these skills and free up your time.

If you don’t feel your writing is the greatest, enlist a friend who has a better grasp of it to edit your posts. There’s no shame in asking for help. If you need it, find someone you trust and ask. The worst they could do is say no.
Also, and this will help if you feel you simply don’t have the time to blog regularly; you can hire a freelance writer/professional blogger to help you out.

Many of these professionals are available to help you write quality blog posts, edit what you have or simply write the entire thing for you. You supply the topic (many will come up with topics for you) and they can supply the content. If you contract with a freelance writer, you’re guaranteed a regular posting schedule.

One caveat to hiring a writer online … many of these writers are not actually writers and do not even speak English. You will need to interview a candidate thoroughly, ask them questions, look at their writing samples, and ask them for a test sample with a topic you provide. Remember, you get what you pay for in a business like this so if their rate seems too good to be true … it’s because you’ll be getting sub-par content.

Hopefully you found this two part series helpful and I’d like to know how setting up your blog and delivering your content is going so please let me know in the comments section. Happy blogging!



The Benefits of Adding a WordPress Blog to your Website

WordpressBlogging; it seems everyone is doing it today and for good reason. Adding a well written, engaging blog to your business website can improve your visitor’s experience and help your business grow. It aids in everything from increasing consumer traffic, to making you look more knowledgeable about your niche market than your competitors.

The importance of adding a blog to your website is often overlooked or even avoided as many business owners don’t feel comfortable enough with their writing skills or simply don’t have the time, but these are precisely the reasons you should add a blog. Regular blogging helps you improve your writing skills and forces you to focus on the trends concerning your niche; research you may not otherwise get to in the day to day motions of running your business.

There are several other reasons to add a blog to your website and I’d like to highlight a few, sit back and get comfy. Let’s get started shall we?

SEO Rankings

By now, we all should know how crucial SEO rankings are to the success of an online or brick and mortar business; but how does blogging help raise your ranking?

By providing consistent, engaging content, updated with new keywords via blogging; you can raise your search engine rankings and visibility considerably.

The higher you’re ranking, and the more keywords relevant to your niche that appear on your site; the easier it is for potential customers to find you when performing a search engine query. Let’s face it. There are a lot of businesses online, and the more visible you are, the better.

Increased Web Traffic

Again, this comes down to visibility. Raising your search engine rankings is one way to get traffic to your site but it isn’t the only way.

Blogging about your business niche or even helpful tips on things pertaining to your area of expertise then sharing the content with your readers encourages them to share it on their own social media pages.

Every time someone shares your content, you’re reaching hundreds of potential customers you may never have had the opportunity to reach otherwise. You’ve given many potential customers a reason to click over to your site and read your content, increasing your web traffic. If they’re there already, they may stay or return later to make a purchase. You’ve created an opening for potentially hundreds of new customers simply by writing a blog post.

Creates a Sense of Community

It’s very hard to connect with your customers on a personal level via keyboard. Customers who feel wanted and connected with on a personal level, become repeat customers. Write engaging content and set up a comments area on your posts then … ENGAGE with them!

By creating a blog with a comments section or sharing your posts to your business related social media sites, you open up dialog between yourself and your customers. You’re adding a sense of value to your relationship with them and letting them know that not just their business matters to you but their thoughts, opinions, and feelings as well.

Engaging with your customers also brings a sense of community to your site and your content. This is so important in running an online business where you can’t shake your customer’s hand or greet them when they walk into your door. These customers don’t meet coming in and out of a virtual store so they can never just stop and speak with each other. By creating content they can comment on or interact with each other, and you, you’re providing them with that sense of community that is so lacking in virtual business, and they will remember your efforts.

Informing Your Readers

As much as things like raising your search engine rankings and grabbing site traffic through blogging are great, you need to make it your goal to inform your readers.

Blogging about topics focused on your business niche, writing “How To’s”, sharing trending topics, or just your views on a particular issue that affects your market are all great ways to inform your customers and improve your own knowledge in the process.

A few things to keep in mind when you’re writing to inform; make sure the information you’re sharing is truthful and helpful. Check your sources and do your research. You’ll save yourself a lot of time writing retractions by simply investigating your topics thoroughly the first time.

Being Viewed as an Expert

Blogging relevant and correct information for your readers is a great way to become “known” in your niche. The more you write on a subject, the more you will learn which makes you appear to be an expert on the subject and, in fact, you will be.

Consumers are more likely to purchase goods and services from business owners who know what they’re talking about. They feel more comfortable doing business with people who are knowledgeable and can answer their questions quickly and truthfully.

Lastly, why would you not take the opportunity to learn more about your business? It benefits both you and your customers and you’re more likely to get repeat business when customers see what you were telling them was true.

Bottom line, producing constant, well written, engaging content via a blog creates ways for people to find you on the web, helps you engage with your customer base, allows you to reach people you would normally not be able to through social sharing, and it lets people know that you know what you’re talking about. Taking the time to add a blog to your site just makes good business sense.

Be sure to catch next week’s post where I will cover the elements of successful blog as well as tips on writing one. See you next week!

Champion Iron Responsive WordPress website launched!

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Champion Iron website (www.championiron.com). This was a large project and Darkstar Media worked with OMG (Onside Marketing Group). Darkstar Media handled the graphic design, website development, and data entry and OMG handled the project management.

Some of the features of this website include:

  • Four Languages (English, French, German, Chinese)
  • Fully Responsive
  • Dynamic Sidebars
  • Stock price and graph integration
  • CRM integration
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

champion iron logo

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