New Seeds of Independence website is now live

​We are excited to launch Seeds of Independence’s new website! Seeds is a Maine based organization that does some amazing work to help at risk youths in Maine reach their full potential as independent and productive members of society.

The new website is responsive (mobile-friendly) and features photography by us as well. We will continue to update the website with photos and new pages. The Seeds staff is able to fully manage their website from a user-friendly backend powered by ExpressionEngine. On that note we are grateful to EllisLab for their considerate flexibility in licensing for a non-profit which has enabled us to launch this website with ExpressionEngine 3.

Visit the new website!

SEO A Simple Approach for meta tags with ExpressionEngine

Custom meta tags for templates/entries can be easily achieved using Template Layouts with ExpressionEngine. This approach is very lightweight, easy to customize and does not rely on an add on.

If the site already uses Template Layouts, then incorporating custom meta tags is a breeze. We’re going to start by setting a custom title and description. Here’a what a simple template layout would look like:

<!doctype html>
<html>
<head>
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" dir="ltr">
<meta http-equiv="content-language" content="en-us" />  
<title>{if layout:title != ''}{layout:title} - {/if}{site_name}</title>
{if layout:description}<meta name="description" content="{layout:description}">{/if}
</head>
<body>
{layout:contents}
</body>
</html>

Now on any template you can easily set the title and meta description based on what the content for the template is.

{layout="site/.html-layout"}
{exp:channel:entries channel="news"}
{layout:set name="title"}{title}{/layout:set}
{layout:set name="description"}{meta_description}{/layout:set}
{/exp:channel:entries}

The code above will set the title to the entry’s title and the meta description to a custom field designated for meta descriptions. Additionally if you limit the custom field to 155 characters, you will ensure that the editor does not go above the limit.

The possibilities with such a simple approach are endless. Example code for category pages:

{exp:channel:category_heading channel="news"}
{layout:set name="title" value="{category_name} News"}
{/exp:channel:category_heading}

And my approach to paginated pages is to have the <title> tag have more than one layout variable:

<title>{if layout:title}{layout:title}{/if}{if layout:title-two} {layout:title-two}{/if} - {site_name}</title>

Having two variables allows you to set the title in pieces in different parts of the template. So pagination would look something like:

{layout="site/.html-layout" title="News"}
{exp:channel:entries channel="news" paginate="bottom" limit="10"}
{paginate}
{if current_page != '1'}
{layout:set name="title-two"}- Page {current_page}{/layout:set}
{/if} 
{/paginate}
{/exp:channel:entries}

One last tip: assume that you don’t want the site’s name at the end of the title because the entry’s title + the site’s name may be too long. You can easily add one more template variable to the title that if set – it does not display the site’s name.

<title>{if layout:title}{layout:title}{/if}{if layout:title-two} {layout:title-two}{/if}{! if layout:no-site} - {site_name}</title>

With the above code in place, whenever you don’t want the site name in the title, just set layout:no-site to anything:

{layout:set name="no-site" value="y"}

TrailTalk: A Project of Our Own

Over a year ago we began work on a project that is the brain child of Willow Light Studio. This project allows us to put all our knowledge and experience into a website that we can call our own. Our goal with this new website is (but not limited to):

  • Share our passion of the outdoors with others, and have others share theirs with us
  • Provide a valuable resource to outdoor enthusiasts
  • Connect outdoor enthusiasts with each other and local organizations
  • Inspire people and families to spend more time outdoors

We have big ideas and plans for this project, but are realistic that many of these ideas will have to be developed over time as both time and resources are limited. We are fully committed to making it a success, and also implementing every good idea with the goal of providing a valuable resource for outdoor enthusiasts.

The name and logo were conceived by the two Willow Light Studio staff, Pedro Guimaraes and Sara DeRico. The concept was brought to life by local Maine artist, Daria Norvlaan of Luksin Designs who also created other artwork for the website.

The website will launch on the first day of Spring in 2016.

Website for Maine based Seeds of Independence

We began working with Seeds of Independence earlier in the year with the goal of designing and developing a new website, as well as doing photography for the new website.

The project quickly took a turn into being more than just the regular website, but also an internal website that is a database of the organization’s staff, mentors, youth, programs and more.

The organization can now move from using paper to storing its data “in the cloud”, which can be accessed from anywhere ~ from a mobile phone to an in-office computer. The relational database allows the organization quick access to who’s mentoring who, emergency and medical info for youth and more.

The day where you can have your web presence, along with your organization’s data is here. The information is also likely more secure than paper, thanks to ExpressionEngine being one of the most secure Content Management Systems out there.

We will be getting some photography for this project completed in the next couple weeks and look forward to capturing the essence of the organization.