Video Creation with Missoula Media Company

We are proud to announce that Valier as joined forces with two other Missoula, Montana video creation veterans to create Missoula Media Company – a video production, website design, website development, and graphic design company based out of…well…Missoula. Valier will continue to thrive, but our focus has shifted more towards web application development and away from digital marketing over the years. We have long felt that joining a collective that includes local photography and video production pros would be a good move to expand our capabilities from a digital marketing perspective, and we were right. So far, we are blown away at the way our involvement with MMCO has elevated our digital marketing! Digital Marketing is Collaborative / Three is Better Than One At Missoula Media Company, website design, branding, and graphic design can become much more collaborative, with three media professionals at the helm: Merritt Lentz – Graphic Design, Website Design, and Motion Graphics Merritt is the founder of Valier and a veteran designer, developer, and graphic designer with over 13 years of professional experience in the industry. According […] read more

How can I stop my website from breaking?

It’s Black Friday at 4am, and you receive one of the worst emails you can receive – “Is your website down?” You notice the email when you wake up, almost spit out your coffee, and frantically reach out to your web developer while dreadful questions spin around in your mind: “how long has my website been down? How much revenue was lost? Are we going to be able to fix it today?” At Valier, don’t ever want our customers to have a morning like that, so we have developed a reliable automated website testing platform to proactively detect problems before your customers spot them. First Responder by Valier utilizes Selenium Testing to detect problems with your website, including broken “add to cart” buttons, contact forms, and menus, before you, your boss, employees, or your customers run into the issue. We can record sessions on multiple browsers and devices (and multiple versions of each!), store those tests for review, and programmatically test core functionality on your website. We can truly put your website to the test, as often as every ten […] read more

Security Through Obscurity: Should you change your WP-Admin Directory?

One of the most common recommendations that you hear regarding WordPress security upgrades is to change the name of your WP-Admin directory. Does this really make much of a difference? Not really. Improving WordPress Security by changing the WP-Admin directory So what does this do exactly? Well it makes it harder for a hacker to find your WP-Admin directory and attempt a brute force hack. That’s known as “security through obscurity,” and while it will prevent a certain number of malicious IPs from reaching your login screen, it won’t prevent sophisticated attacks in any real way. Here is what the WordFence Security experts have to say about this: Changing your WP-Admin Directory Can Break Your Site There are tons of plugins and themes that depend on wp-admin being located at /wp-admin. One common reason is that plugins or themes may rely on accessing the admin-ajax.php file, which is in the root of the WP-Admin directory. If you change this directory, the plugin or theme may not have the proper configuration to be able to find it at its new directory, […] read more

RIP GTMetrix

With the sudden switch to Lighthouse, the once revered optimization platform becomes unrecognizable and unusable. Editors note: It would seem that the team at GTMetrix has listened to the developers that were impacted by the sudden website optimization platform revision, and have been working tirelessly to improve the proprietary parts of their testing platform to offer more relevant scores. They also worked closely with Valier to address optimization issues on our managed sites, and as a result our sites improved and GTMetrix improved their scoring system. While this post is relevant in the sense that it offers insight into the process that took place, we now hope that it also serves as a testament to GTMetrix’s commitment toward its customers. We will continue to monitor GTMetrix’s platform updates and will continue to discuss these changes here at Today I went to complete an ongoing optimization project for a client of mine only to discover that the entire GTMetrix platform has been converted to use Lighthouse rather than PageSpeed and YSlow. While I am aware of the “advantages” that Google […] read more

The Nostalgiaphiliac – Part 1

Well, its 2020. Two-thousand-and-twenty. Holy fuck. What is it about the arbitrarily assigned significance of a new decade that is so captivating to humans? You see the same effect throughout all of numerology. It really pulls at my heart strings to think of the amazing memories that I have made over the past decade. Some of the memories are of joy, others of heartache. Some of accomplishment, some of failure. The beauty of all of that merged into a single thought – “last decade,” is almost too much to bear, yet I can’t look away or diminish its significance. I graduated from college and started my career in this last decade. I found the love of my life. I lived in three different states. A lot has happened! The feeling of wanting to revisit some of these memories brought me to dig through my old portfolio, dating back to some of my first professional projects created back in 2010-2011. It was amazing to see how much I have grown since then, as a web developer, as a designer, and as […] read more

Anti-lytics: Let Data Inform Decisions, Not Make Them

The rise of analytics has ushered in a new era of business management. Once only obtainable through expensive market research, data is now available, and used by businesses of all shapes and sizes. Google Analytics, when used properly, is one of the most commonly used and powerful analytics tools on the market. Its also fucking free. Everyone is, or should be, using it. Sadly, many website owners misinterpret their website analytics data and rush off to hire a web developer fix things that aren’t actually broken. Many website owners look to see improvements in two categories: pageviews and conversions. After all, a store that gets busier and sells more product is growing right? Perhaps, but if pageviews or conversions are not increasing, does that then mean that the business is dying? You see, this becomes an area where you want to dig deeper into the data and perform experiments in order to discover what is working and what isn’t. Maybe your product is missing a key feature. Maybe the prices are too high. Maybe your traffic is coming from off-topic […] read more

Is Google Drive Too Slow? Try this pro tip…

The first time that you sync your files with Google Drive can be a doozy. This is especially true if you are a web developer or graphic designer who likely has tons of smaller files nested within your shared folder. While each file, may upload quickly the system has to check each individual file for changes and then upload them individually, which really slows down the upload process. The Solution Exit out of Google Drive on your local computer if it is running; you will re-enable it once the files are in their proper locations. Then, group your files into separate zip files and then upload them to your drive manually before you start the syncing process. For example, I zip my files in my WAMP directory one website or app at a time. This helps to consolidate things like giant JavaScript libraries while maintaining an easy-to-organize file structure. Unzip! Once the files upload, simply unzip them right in the Google Drive online interface. To unzip files, you just need to add an app that can process zip files. Don’t […] read more

How to use Google Drive and WAMP to Develop Websites and Applications on Multiple Computers

Creating the ideal local development environment is a key component of being an efficient developer, but it sometimes takes a bit of trial and error to create the website development environment that works best for you. One important component of this is finding a way to share files between your various dev stations so that you can quickly switch computers and pick up where you left off. For me, I prefer WAMP and Google Drive as my current weapons of choice. This may change over time, as it has many times before, but for now the following important tasks are accomplished with this workflow: I can develop a website quickly without having to deal with FTP uploads I can utilize popular tools like an SCSS preprocessor and Chrome Dev Tools to quickly see code changes persisted into the browser All of the files that I want to share between machines are shared, and the files that I don’t want to sync are left alone I am able to accomplish this with minimal additional cost as Google Drive includes ample storage […] read more

Modern WordPress Development in the Gutenberg Era

WordPress has gone through a number of changes over the course of its life cycle. I know of at least one major developer who even considers WordPress to be a legacy application – meaning that it has passed beyond the the peak of its life cycle. From a popularity standpoint I’d say that’s pretty debatable considering the number of sites out there that are using WordPress. However, what they are referring to is just the overall architecture of the WordPress platform and how it compares to some of the new(er) kids on the block. React app development, for example, has really taken the development world by storm, and in many cases, slower PHP based applications are being phased out in a lot of cases for JavaScript applications. There are pros and cons to either language, but what is important to keep in mind is that WordPress will still continue to have a place in as a marketing tool for years to come. It’s just that popular. Because of this, the demand for WordPress development will keep a lot of developers […] read more

How to Choose a Logo Design that Fits Your Business

Picking a logo design can be tough. There are thousands upon thousands of font faces, color schemes and design styles to choose from, and it can be difficult to figure out which combination of these elements will create a winner. So where do you start? I always recommend starting by finding some logo examples that you like. Regardless of the goals and style that your brand embodies, if you don’t love the logo, you won’t feel comfortable handing out your business card, driving past your sign, or branding company vehicles and clothing. There are a ton of great online resources for this, such as Browse through the website and pick out 3-10 logos that you really like, and try to identify what you like about them. Do you like the font? What about the color choices? Figuring this part out will help you establish a shared aesthetic with your logo designer and set the project on track for success. Once you have identified the styles that fit your personal preference, it’s time to refer back to your mission statement […] read more