Blog

  • Featured Site: Fast Boy Cycles

    Ezra Caldwell is surely one of our most incredible and inspiring Virb customers. A former dance instructor, Ezra set out on a new dream by opening his own custom bicycle business in 2007 called Fast Boy Cycles.

    Just as his new business was getting underway, however, life threw him a curveball: he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and told he wasn’t allowed to ride bikes anymore. Naturally, that didn’t stop him. This determined innovator created a custom bike without any seat at all. Though difficult and exhausting to ride, Ezra used his “Assless Bike” to commute around his New York City home, including riding to and from cancer treatments.

    image

    As his love for mountain biking emerged and grew, his condition worsened until his unfortunate terminal cancer diagnosis last year. This, of course, didn’t stop him either. Ezra set out to build his dream mountain bike using donated parts, which he promised to auction off for charity when he was no longer able to ride it. He calls this build the “Ultimate Tight Ass,” and any cyclist knows that it’s one truly incredible bike.

    image

    The auction for both of these bikes ends today, and all proceeds, as promised, will be donated to the Visiting Nurse Service of NY Home Hospice Program.

    Ezra Caldwell’s continued determination, sense of humor, and passion for all that he does has touched many lives. You can follow along with Ezra on his personal blog, Teaching Cancer to Cry, or on his photography website. We wish Ezra the best and hope that he continues to defy his unfair odds to share his courage and many talents with the world.

    image

    Hear Ezra’s story told in his own words or find more information about the bikes he’s built on his website, Fast Boy Cycles.

  • 3 Smart Ways to Use Maintenance Mode

    Every Virb site comes equipped with a super handy “maintenance mode.” But do you know how or why to use it? Since we’ve just overhauled this page, there’s no better time than now to learn!

    Enabling this mode has always been easy, but now you can do so much more: We’ve added a brand new, modern layout plus full content-editing capabilities to this page. You’ll now have 3 options for page styles: inline, full screen, or our brand new sidebar layout.

    image

    Also, you can now adjust your headline and add custom details in the full content editor. You asked for it, and we heard you loud and clear! So now you see that getting the page to look great is simple. But when should you use it? Read on.


    Use #1: Coming Soon

    One popular usage of maintenance mode is to enable it when starting a new site to add a “coming soon” page. To get people to come back later, consider telling your visitors what to expect from the upcoming site and when it will be ready. You could even integrate an email sign-up form to notify your followers when it’s ready.

    A “coming soon” page is smart because it gives search engines something to keep track of while you’re putting together your site behind the scenes. Plus, if people start sharing that page on social networks or blogs, it’s an added boost to SEO.

    image


    Use #2: Under Maintenance

    Another smart time to enable maintenance mode is when you’re making significant updates to your site. You don’t want visitors using a funky navigation while you rearrange pages or seeing a strange layout while you test out Widgets, right? Just enable maintenance mode and adjust it to let visitors know that you’re making updates and when you’ll be done. You might even consider letting folks know a couple days ahead of time about the upcoming maintenance period if you have a lot of traffic.

    image


    Use #3: Something Went Wrong

    The third common use of a maintenance page is for when things go wrong. While we don’t ever expect that to happen on Virb, you never know when you might accidentally upload the wrong set of images or add a third-party app that has trouble. You can ease your stress and maintain visitors’ trust by quickly enabling a “be right back” page while you fix things up. Maybe even take a tip from Twitter’s “fail whale” and add something friendly to ease your visitors’ stress.

    image

    Been itching for a site overhaul? Starting a new project that’s not ready yet? Just flip on maintenance mode and get started. Prying eyes will just have to wait.

  • More Page Options

    Remember those awesome new Pages we announced? Well, we’re already rolling out version 2.0, adding even more options to our Menu and Listing Pages.

    Menu Pages

    Whether you’re a bakery selling cupcakes or a photographer selling photo packages, the Menu Page gives you a super organized way to add and display product information.

    And now, you can display your Menu in either one or two columns to best showcase your offerings. Check out how the styles look in the Nautilus Theme below.

    Two columns:
    image

    One column:
    image

    Listing Pages

    Our new Listing Page is wonderfully versatile and is perfect for a staff/team page, detailed service or product descriptions, FAQs, testimonials, a resume, and so much more.

    Now, you can choose to display your Listing Page as a list or a grid. If you’ve ever examined your content and thought, “That would look great in a table,” look no further: The new grid layout arranges your chunks of information into a sleek grid that’s mobile-friendly and ideal for SEO. And, equally useful, the list layout places your content into tidy rows. See the difference below.

    Grid:
    image

    List:
    image

    With these new options, you can create unique layouts to make your content stand out on each page of your site. But don’t take our word for it—log in and try ‘em out!

  • Virb Turns 3!

    Can you believe it? Three years ago today, Virb emerged as an elegantly simple website builder (and it looked like this). We’ve come so far since then.

    Even just in the past year, we’ve grown our little team by 5, completely overhauled our Themes for mobile, launched a revolutionary way to sell Etsy products, added tons of new features, and strengthened our ties with our partners at (mt) Media Temple to help us grow in new ways.

    To celebrate our milestone, we want to honor a few of our incredible customers who’ve been with us since day one:

    Kate Bingaman-Burt: illustrator, designer, teacher, author
    image

    Meg White Photography: wedding and portrait photographer
    image

    Sarah Palmer: photographer, designer, and crafter
    image

    John French and the Bastilles: folksy band out of Athens, GA
    image

    Summer Ordoñez: designer, illustrator
    image

    Whether you were there three years ago or are just joining us now, we want to thank each of you for helping shape Virb into what it is today. We’re continually amazed by what our customers are creating and sharing using Virb, and we couldn’t be more proud to host your projects, ideas, accomplishments, and memories. Thank you for being a part of our journey.

  • Introducing a Whole New SoundCloud Player

    SoundCloud gives musicians, bands, and podcasters a community to share, follow, and interact with each other and their fans—and we love that. So now we’ve made our SoundCloud integration even better by adding a fully embedded player with more customization options than ever before.

    What’s New

    The new, integrated player has a look and feel that’s consistent with SoundCloud and includes controls over what tracks to play, how they’re played, how the tracks are shared, and what elements to include. To try it out, just create a new Audio Page, select the “From Other Services” tab, and connect to an existing SoundCloud Account.

    image

    For a great, real-life example, check out this SoundCloud page created by music producer and songwriter Brennan Aerts (try to keep the dancing to a minimum).

    image

  • Featured Site: Instagram.is

    Instagram has changed the way we communicate, share experiences, and even form relationships (not to mention forever changing the way we view food). With that in mind, what is Instagram? That’s what young director Paul Tellefsen set out to answer in his first-ever documentary, Instagram Is. Check out the trailer below!

    Paul created this video as part of his senior year capstone project and released it last May. In the film, Paul captures meaningful impressions and opinions from a variety of people about social media, iPhoneography, and connecting with others. The 25-minute film is beautiful and insightful and fully worthy of the A+ we imagine he received for it.

    image

    You can help keep the project moving by posting your very own Instagram that completes the phrase, “Instagram is _______.” Just be sure to use the hashtag #instagramisblank and link back to the team behind it, @instagramis.

    Watch the full film or read more about it on their website: Instagramis.com.

  • A Smarter Mobile Navigation

    Did you know over 20% of visitors to Virb sites are using mobile devices? Or that twice as many mobile devices as PCs were sold last year? It’s true. But there’s no need to worry: Virb Themes were already made to look great on small screens—and now the experience is even better. We just rolled out an improved mobile navigation that makes it easier for your visitors to browse through your site from a phone or small screen.

    image

    For the new navigation, we added the word “menu” to go along with the classic mobile dropdown icon, which gives it more context and prevents any confusion. We also adjusted the logo so it sits front and center above the menu for a more balanced feel and bigger impact.

    Visit any of our demo sites or your own site to see the changes now. Bring on the smartphone revolution!

  • Introducing Four New Pages

    When it comes to creating your website, content is king. But what good is content if it’s not presented in a way that’s easy for your visitors to read and understand? Now, we’re introducing four brand new Page types to help you create effective (and seriously professional-looking) content.

    About Page

    The new About Page combines an area for a block of text with an image—simple as that. Choose a full-width image or select a left or right-aligned image, which your text automatically wraps around (bye bye, tables). This Page type is great for bios or informational pages. Now the hard part: writing about yourself in the third person.

    image

    Menu Page

    The Menu Page gives you a place to list a series of items with a price and description. This is perfect for restaurants, cafes, hair salons, or any business that wants to provide product information online. Now that it’s this easy to update your info, you can let your baristas go crazy.

    image

    Contact Page

    The Contact Page provides a space to give out all your important info like your phone number, email address, physical address, and social media aliases. You can even add an integrated Google Map with just one click so your visitors can find you with ease.

    image

    Listing Page

    A Listing Page is a place to display a group of items with text and an optional image. This Page is perfect for a group of product descriptions, FAQs, a listing of people within an organization, or any series of items. And like all our other pages, it’s made to fit and look great on any device.

    image

    Remember that you’ll need to be using one of our upgraded Themes to access these Pages (if you joined us after January, no need to worry about this one). Also, you HTML-changers might need to update your custom code to include the new additions.

    We hope these Pages help make it easier for you to organize all the great things you have to say. Log in to give them a try now!

  • Make Your Site Stand Out with HD

    We recently released our HD Theme, and now we’ve taken off its beta label and set it free in the wild! HD is one of our most unique Themes to date, offering a modern navigation slider and full-screen image galleries.

    image

    We think photographers will especially love HD since it allows for a dramatic arrangement of images when used with a vertical thumbnail display and full-screen images in the slideshow view. Don’t worry though: HD is easily adaptable for anyone who has a penchant for a site with a bit of an edge.

    image

    The release of this Theme also means something very exciting for our team because it marks the completion of updating all our Themes from the old Platform. (If you joined in January or later, you don’t need to worry about this.) That means every single customer can upgrade and keep their Theme of choice. It also means we can move on to Themes and features that are entirely new—and rumor is that you’ll see some new features very, very soon.

    What are you waiting for? Go check out the HD demo site or preview it on your own website now.

  • Featured Site: Jay B Sauceda

    Jay B Sauceda is a photographer based in Austin, Texas, whose clients include Microsoft, BMW, Fast Company, Target, and many more. From cowboys to BBQ masters, Jay’s photos capture the best of The Lone Star State and beyond.

    image

    This born-and-raised Texan has captured many different subjects: beautiful mountains, mustached cowboys, and even pint-sized beauty pageant contestants. His captivating photos seem to have a life of their own (which is a little terrifying when you look through his Forensic Botany collection).

    image

    Put on yer cowboy hat and check out all of Jay’s work right here: jaybsauceda.com

    (The photos here are 100% owned by Jay B Sauceda)