Getting started with Susy

3 min read
Watb Team
The Susy Logo

Disclaimer: This post documents my first steps with Susy – please excuse any errors!

Susy is effectively a bunch of sassy-math that allows you to get rid of all that bloated grid mark up once and for all, and move away from rigid column based layouts. I’ve never used Susy before having become accustomed to building out projects with Foundation.

But we all need to try something new sometimes and figure out methods that solve our problems with development. I’ve always hated grid mark up so this should hopefully be a fun and rewarding journey. To start off with, I created my project folder and a new repository on Bitbucket.

Next, we need to install Susy. I’ve used Bower but there are other methods – depending on your environment and preferred method of working.

<!-- HTML generated using hilite.me --><div style="background: #f8f8f8; overflow:auto;width:auto;padding:.8em .6em;"><pre style="margin: 0; line-height: 125%">bower install susy --save
</pre></div>

We then need to import Susy into our SASS.

<!-- HTML generated using hilite.me --><div style="background: #f8f8f8; overflow:auto;width:auto;padding:.8em .6em;"><pre style="margin: 0; line-height: 125%">@import &quot;../bower_components/susy/sass/susy&quot;;
</pre></div>

Basic Susy Usage

As a fan of Foundation, I’ve gotten used to working with its rem-calc function. So after grabbing the function from Foundation and pasting into my _functions.scss file, I created a container.

<!-- HTML generated using hilite.me --><div style="background: #f8f8f8; overflow:auto;width:auto;padding:.8em .6em;"><pre style="margin: 0; line-height: 125%">.container {
@include container(rem-calc(1440));
}
</pre></div>

This will spit out the following CSS. You can also use percentages with Susy if you’d prefer a percentage based layout.

<!-- HTML generated using hilite.me --><div style="background: #f8f8f8; overflow:auto;width:auto;padding:.8em .6em;"><pre style="margin: 0; line-height: 125%">.container {
 max-width:90rem;
 margin-left:auto;
 margin-right:auto
}
.container:after {
 content:&quot; &quot;;
 display:block;
 clear:both
}
</pre></div>

Now we want to start laying out our page elements within our container. Previously, with Foundation/Bootstrap or other grids, we.d have mark up like this.

<!-- HTML generated using hilite.me --><div style="background: #f8f8f8; overflow:auto;width:auto;padding:.8em .6em;"><pre style="margin: 0; line-height: 125%"><span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;div</span> <span style="color: #7D9029">class=</span><span style="color: #BA2121">&quot;container&quot;</span><span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&gt;</span> <span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;div</span> <span style="color: #7D9029">class=</span><span style="color: #BA2121">&quot;small-12 medium-6 columns&quot;</span><span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&gt;</span>
<span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;a</span> <span style="color: #7D9029">href=</span><span style="color: #BA2121">&quot;#&quot;</span> <span style="color: #7D9029">class=</span><span style="color: #BA2121">&quot;logo&quot;</span><span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&gt;</span>
<span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;h1&gt;</span>Glad Solutions<span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;/h1&gt;</span>
<span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;/a&gt;</span>
<span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;/div&gt;</span><span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;/div&gt;</span>
</pre></div>

With Susy, we can do away with out grid mark up.

<!-- HTML generated using hilite.me --><div style="background: #f8f8f8; overflow:auto;width:auto;padding:.8em .6em;"><pre style="margin: 0; line-height: 125%"><span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;div</span> <span style="color: #7D9029">class=</span><span style="color: #BA2121">&quot;container&quot;</span><span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&gt;</span>
<span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;a</span> <span style="color: #7D9029">href=</span><span style="color: #BA2121">&quot;#&quot;</span> <span style="color: #7D9029">class=</span><span style="color: #BA2121">&quot;logo&quot;</span><span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&gt;</span>
<span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;h1&gt;</span>Glad Solutions<span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;/h1&gt;</span>
<span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;/a&gt;</span><span style="color: #008000; font-weight: bold">&lt;/div&gt;</span>
</pre></div>

Then in our CSS, we’ll use a Susy span.

<!-- HTML generated using hilite.me --><div style="background: #f8f8f8; overflow:auto;width:auto;padding:.8em .6em;"><pre style="margin: 0; line-height: 125%">.logo {
@include span(3 of 12);
}
</pre></div>

Media Queries

Susy allows us to be much more complex with how we lay out elements on the page on different screen sizes. With Foundation, you’re limited to three break points – small, medium and large. With Susy, we can give our elements different column widths at whatever break point we want.

<!-- HTML generated using hilite.me --><div style="background: #f8f8f8; overflow:auto;width:auto;padding:.8em .6em;"><pre style="margin: 0; line-height: 125%">.logo {
@include span(12 of 12);
}
@media screen and (min-width:800px){
 .logo {
 @include span(8 of 12);
 }
}
@media screen and (min-width:1440px){
 .logo {
 @include span(6 of 12);
 }
}
</pre></div>

We’re not limited to a 12 column grid either. We can use as many columns in our grid as we need.

<!-- HTML generated using hilite.me --><div style="background: #f8f8f8; overflow:auto;width:auto;padding:.8em .6em;"><pre style="margin: 0; line-height: 125%">.logo {
@include span(7 of 25);
}
</pre></div>

You’ll know enough now to get up and running with Susy and beginning to lay out your pages using basic grids – with out grid mark up and without grid CSS. You’re already developer leaner, more efficient code.

But that’s not all Susy can do. Susy has a raft of other tricks up her sleeve that can prove extremely useful. For example, we can use layout to create a grid out of the box.

<!-- HTML generated using hilite.me --><div style="background: #f8f8f8; overflow:auto;width:auto;padding:.8em .6em;"><pre style="margin: 0; line-height: 125%">@include layout(12 (60px 20px) split static);
</pre></div>

More Susy Fun

So there we have a basic introduction to Susy. As you can see, getting started with basic grids is pretty easy but we’ve saved a lot of time we’d have spent writing grid mark up. We also save file size in our CSS and HTML, so our web projects will be faster and easier to work with. It’s tools like Susy that justify why CSS Pre-Processors such as SASS can be so incredibly useful. Without Susy, we’d either depend on a grid CSS system or we’d have to manually size up each component.

For more advanced Susy tutorials, check out their page: http://susy.oddbird.net/demos/

Please share any Susy tips or tricks you have in the comments below.

Susy is effectively a bunch of sassy-math that allows you to get rid of all that bloated grid mark up once and for all, and move away from rigid column based layouts

Social Media Management Software

In order to promote your business and reach consumers that spend an entire 24 hours a week online, you need to make sure that you have a viable social media strategy in place.

By posting unique and interesting content on your social media platforms, and by actively engaging with followers, you can start to turn this into a funnel for generating leads.

In order to stay on top of your social media strategy, it’s important to have some form of social media management software to do some of the heavy lifting. Software such as this is imperative for scheduling, tracking and monitoring social media content.

At its best, social media management software can help you not only plan your content months in advance, but also remain reactive by letting you tune into ongoing news stories or trending topics.

Screenshot of Hootsuite's homepage

We recommend: Hootsuite

There are a whole bunch of social media management companies out there and all of them offer roughly the same sort of package but Hootsuite is the only one that offers an actually free service (as opposed to just a free trial period).

They do try to hide it on their website though so make sure you follow this link in order to get to the right page.

The free version of this software lets you:

  • Manage up to three social media profiles from a choice of channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn
  • Schedule up to 30 posts in advance at any point in time
  • Track follower growth, likes and comments
  • Integrate two RSS feeds in order to find and share compelling content
  • Access Hootsuite’s online help center and community forum

Of course, there’s also a number of paid-for packages that you can buy from Hootsuite that give you access to a great number of services including higher ad spend budgets, automated post scheduling and custom analytics.

But if you’re a small business looking to get started, the free version of the software should be comprehensive enough to allow you to get your social media strategy in motion.

Website Tracking Software

We’ve said before that the secret to a successful lead generation strategy is to keep analysing and refining your methods. Well, website tracking software is the best way to conduct this analysis.

By digging into the analytics of your visitors’ actions, you can start to gain a better picture of why people come to your site, what they want from it, what they dislike about it and how you can improve upon their experience next time.

There are a wide variety of services that can fall into the category of website tracking software, including heatmaps, funnels, user polls, surveys, visitor recordings and more.

Basically, any kind of software that collects data about the ways in which your visitors interact with your site can be considered website tracking software.

Screenshot of Hotjar's homepage

We recommend: Hotjar

Whereas there are a multitude of smaller software companies that focus in on just one website tracking service, Hotjar offers an array of useful tools.

Hotjar tools include:

  • Click, move, scroll, download and share heatmaps that can also be split by device type
  • Visitor recordings that allow you to replay sessions of real site visitors
  • Conversion funnels that identify on which page and at which step the most visitors are leaving your site
  • Form analysis that can help you to discover which fields take too long to fill, which are left blank and why your visitors abandon your form and page
  • A customizable widget that allows you to create pop-up feedback polls
  • Responsive surveys that can be distributed through web links and emails, or featured your site just before your visitors abandon the page in order to discover what their concerns are
  • The ability to recruit test users in order to get instant feedback on your site

Hotjar’s free service is able to collect data from 2000 page views a day and will give you access to up to 300 visitor recordings and 3 heatmaps, forms, funnels, polls and surveys. Unlimited users can be added to your account and Hotjar will also store your data for a full year.

While we’d normally recommend free services when possible, it’s probably worth paying for Hotjar’s Plus plan to begin with.

For just under £25 a month you can collect data from 10,000 page views a day and have unlimited services and reports. Plus there’s even a 15-day free trial for you to test out whether you like their software or not.

Remember

Lead generation doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour.

What’s important is that you put real effort into all of your interactions with potential leads - whether that’s through educational and informative blog posts, social media interactions or even just a chat on the phone.

If you believe in your business’ ability to help its customers then all you have to do is let that shine through.

Ultimately, these tools are just there to help you meet potential leads on their level. The rest is up to you.

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