Introducing our Brand Strategy Partner: Vlad Dascalu

Wrapping up our first round of partnership announcements is our Brand Strategy Partner.

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Vlad Dascalu, our trusted expert in messaging and branding.

With a proven track record in his field, Vlad seeks to work with brands and clients that have tough challenges to overcome. For example, he played an integral role in forming the messaging for Chirps Chips, a cricket-based tortilla chip that recently received $100k in funding from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank.

Whether or not your branding challenge is as difficult as convincing Westerners to eat crickets, Vlad is ready to shape your company’s appearance.

Accepting the challenge

One of Vlad’s favorite quotes comes from Voltaire:

“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”

This has become the way of life and way of succeeding in his industry for Vlad. With every branding challenge, Vlad concerns himself with the company’s history, the competitive landscape, the industry’s history and trajectory, and demographics of the target customers. But once he delivers his findings and recommendations, he also works to ensure a plan of action is created and implemented. Implementation is important for him. Continue reading “Introducing our Brand Strategy Partner: Vlad Dascalu”

Introducing Peter Malick: Shining a light on marketing with Lumen Foundry

How I got here…

I’m Peter, CEO and Co-Founder of Lumen Foundry. It’s more than fitting that I introduce myself in a blog post and not a social media blurb, press release, or live video. Why? Last year I saw my business partner Scott Buscemi (CCO & Co-Founder) for the first time at a WordCamp session titled “Blogging Workshop: The 50 Day Blogging Challenge“. He was presenting about the power of blogging.

I was impressed by Scott’s deep knowledge of all things WordPress, as well as his very accessible and welcoming style. After WordCamp OC, I became more engaged in the Southern California WordPress community, and with each meetup, each new event, I’d see Scott. The thing that stood out to me is that Scott operates at a speed that is not shared by many humans.

Although I sometimes have to record what he is saying and then slow it down for playback, we have formed a business partnership. That business is Lumen Foundry. Now my challenge is to keep up with the speed of light!

Music is marketing, marketing is music

I’ve spent pretty much my whole life in and around music. From the first Rock n Roll concert my parents allowed me to attend at age 12, to playing guitar for blues artists like John Lee Hooker and Big Mama Thornton at 17, my teens were consumed by my music. Continue reading “Introducing Peter Malick: Shining a light on marketing with Lumen Foundry”

Introducing our Lead Design Partner: Michelle Schulp

Alongside the recent launch of Lumen Foundry, we have also forged key partnerships to provide our clients with expertise across a range of disciplines.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Michelle Schulp, our Lead Design Partner.

If you’ve been around the WordPress community for awhile, you probably have seen her and her on-brand pink hair at a conference, WordCamp, or on Twitter. There are many reasons she’s so well-known…

Her background

As a kid, a fun day for Michelle was participating in a design focus group for products. Once she found out that design could be a career, it was inevitable that it would be her life’s pursuit.

In college, Michelle’s studies prepared her for the world of user experience design. Her focus on Visual Communications along with minors in Psychology and Sociology worked to shape her skill set and design approach – “people oriented”.

“The difference between design and art, is that art comes from within to solve your own need, and design comes from without to solve an external need.” – Michelle Schulp

Since then, she’s built a notable design career and expanded her skill set to include front-end development and UX design. Continue reading “Introducing our Lead Design Partner: Michelle Schulp”

Chrome will soon mark all non-SSL sites as “Not Secure”

Starting with this month’s release of Chrome 56, webpages that contain password fields without SSL (aka “https” in the toolbar) will be marked as “Not Secure” in the browser’s toolbar. In the future, Chrome will mark all non-SSL pages as “Not Secure”.

Google originally posted this news back in September.

Setting up SSL with WP Engine

Our recommended WordPress host is WP Engine. With solid support, speedy cache, and a full suite of site tools, they make it easy to manage your site with ease. Continue reading “Chrome will soon mark all non-SSL sites as “Not Secure””

Introducing Lumen Foundry: next generation marketing & eCommerce services

Scott Buscemi and Peter Malick

Hi there, Scott here! ??  Today, I’m proud to announce a new company name, business partner, and a suite of new marketing services. These changes will complement our offerings of eCommerce website development, maintenance, and hosting management.

First, a little history… Continue reading “Introducing Lumen Foundry: next generation marketing & eCommerce services”

Your responsibilities as a site owner and the liabilities if you are hacked

We’ve all seen the headlines. “Yahoo confirms major breach — 500k accounts affected” … “JPMorgan Chase hacking affects 76 million households” … “Hackers selling 117 million LinkedIn passwords” … and the list goes on. Hackers are out there, scouring the web and looking for sensitive information they can use or sell for profit.

Even with these well-known companies being hacked, many site owners don’t take the steps to protect their own systems to thwart intruders. Many business owners may not consider the potential liabilities if a security breach does occur.

Every site is a target

There’s a common misconception that hackers only target sites with lots of traffic. Continue reading “Your responsibilities as a site owner and the liabilities if you are hacked”

Does your minimum order amount not include shipping+tax? Here’s the WooCommerce code.

If you run a WooCommerce store and require a minimum order amount before the customer can check out, you may have come across the WooCommerce documentation that includes code for this requirement. It turns out, this code includes shipping and tax in the “order total.” If you require a minimum order amount for the subtotal only, you’ll need slightly different code.

Here’s the code you’ll want to use in your functions.php code instead:

This code will ensure that the customers are meeting that minimum with just the price of the products they’re purchasing.

Different companies have different requirements and you can choose which is best for you. Despite Woo’s documentation only showing the ‘complete total’ code, I would recommend going the subtotal route instead since you’re not benefiting from shipping and tax fees.

Exploring and acting on analytics data from a site with 1 million pageviews/week

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 2.06.15 PM

If a website is only seeing 10 visitors a day, exploring visitor stats through Google Analytics can be boring and unnecessary. It’s true – at that point, the dataset isn’t large enough to make rational judgment calls about what needs to be change don the site and how to get more people converting or accomplishing business goals. But when dealing with a site that has substantial traffic flowing through the pages regularly, the real fun work begins.

We maintain and develop some really high-traffic sites. Today we’ll be exploring an ad-supported blog that receives 1 million pageviews per week on average. The goal of this site is to (1) direct the user to the content they are interested in, and (2) get the most pageviews (aka ad revenue) per visitor possible.

In this post, we’ll explore the statistics, ask a question about visitor behavior, answer the question through the available data and segmenting options, then make recommendations for what changes to the site can be made & further analyzed. In future posts, we can review the effects of our changes to see how things turned out. Continue reading “Exploring and acting on analytics data from a site with 1 million pageviews/week”

Tearing down the child theme misconception – they needs updates, too!


If you have a WordPress website and are using a theme purchased from ThemeForest or another theme marketplace, the best practice is to use a child theme for your customizations. This allows you to update your theme in the future without overwriting the custom code that adds additional features and functionality. However, there’s a growing misconception regarding child themes and this post will help clarify the situation.

Recently, both Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce came out with new versions that changed how code should be written to change functionality within the shopping experiences. We started receiving messages from site owners who had placed code within their child themes and were wondering why the updates would have affected them if they used a child theme.

Some believe that if you place code within a child theme, that means it will always be compatible with future “updates”. This may be true when it comes to theme updates (depending on how much your theme’s developer cares about backwards compatibility), but there is no guarantee that your code will work with future plugin or WordPress core updates. This is a huge difference. Plugin developers are under no obligation to make their plugins work with previous code snippets that placed in a child theme – and it’s likely that any custom PHP code you place there will need to be updated due to a WordPress or plugin update in the future.

'A child theme keeps you compatible with future theme updates - not plugin or WordPress updates' Click To Tweet

In short, if you place PHP code within your child theme, test your site when new plugin or WordPress updates are released to make sure everything is still compatible and know that you may need to tweak the code in the future to keep your functionality alive.

Did your site’s functionality break due to a recent plugin update – and you need some help getting back in shape? We can help get your site back to normal and maintain it regularly so this doesn’t happen again. Contact us here.

Hide shipping methods when free shipping is available: WooCommerce 2.6 compatibility

If your store offers free shipping, WooCommerce’s default configuration is to show the free shipping option to the customer on checkout, but not automatically select it or remove the paid shipping options. There’s a code snippet that you can add to your theme’s functions.php file to hide other shipping methods when free shipping is available and we’d recommend this to all stores offering free shipping.

With WooCommerce 2.6 being released last month, you may have updated your store and noticed that this code snippet stopped working properly. Turns out, the new version of WooCommerce requires an updated code snippet, even if you haven’t switched over to the new Shipping Zones system. The documentation has been updated on WooCommerce’s site – or here it is for easy copy and pasting: