The Need for Automated Website Monitoring

The Need for Automated Website Monitoring

The Need for Automated Website Monitoring



Typically, every website is tested thoroughly before it goes live for the public to make sure that it works fine without any disruptions. No matter the geographical location and network connection of the users, the website must provide continuous accessibility and stable performance for users. Yet, many times its uptime & performance will not be the same as it should. Several factors such as design, coding, network, servers, and even web traffic influence its working and affect user experience with the website. For any website, monitoring its uptime & performance is not easy because it requires tracking several site components and third-party services that the website is depending on. Unless a holistic check is made on networks, servers, custom website metrics, and others, it is less likely to draw conclusions on website downtime & performance issues.

Can website monitoring be a manual process?
Some website owners have their own methodologies for checking the website. Visiting the site will tell them whether it is working or not, but with manual methods, they cannot identify why the site is truly down. Also, it is less likely they can figure out how long the site is down for users. With a manual process, it is less practical to realize the issue the moment it happens because it is hard for humans to survey their website continuously for 24×7. Even if they inspect the site once a while, they can only check its availability at that time. Also, they cannot analyze performance issues at every point of their site functionality.

Are free tools helpful in website tracking?
As a site owner, when you rely on free tools for website monitoring, you should remember that you are compromising on many things that are critical to your online business. As these tools are typical of low quality with limited ability to test websites, you may not get a holistic report on all site parameters and third party services involved. Since most of these tools are function-specific, even to test a few parameters, you may need to deploy more than one free testing tool. The tools allow only basic features but if you want to assess the functionality of several key aspects of the website in one context, they may not support. There are also some free tools that can help understand the site response under different traffic loads, but the downside of using them is they cannot anticipate downtime and alert like automated monitoring systems. So if you are choosing a free tool for monitoring your website, remember they are good only for comparing and getting exposure to several services but not for real monitoring.

The convenience of working with an automated monitoring solution
When you are using an automated monitoring solution, you are having a business protection tool employed 24×7 for your website against downtime issues. Unlike a manual process, automated systems allow continuous monitoring of websites for uptime & performance and notify immediately when the site is down. It also evaluates the working and performance impact of external dependencies like hosting, CDN, and other third party services. Website issues may occur anywhere in the functionality, identifying of which is difficult even if you are technically sound. The good part of the automated system is, even a person with a non-technical background can track the data about their servers and networks that are associated with their sites. The service provides a detailed report on several site components and load & response metrics that allows site owners to easily detect and troubleshoot performance issues.


Are Backlinks Still Important for Rankings?

Are Backlinks Still Important for Rankings?

According to Google representatives themselves, backlinks are still a really, really big win in terms of quality for search results. The search giant’s recent updates are just encouraging a movement towards more ‘natural’ links.

While I’m not quite as clever as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in being able to state that ‘The Meaning of Life’ is, in fact, 42, I do have the answer to one of the next most important questions in the world:

Q: Are backlinks still important?

A: Yes.

Even after the seemingly terrifying and destructive Panda & Penguin updates, Matt Cutts made the following statement about backlinks. He was asked if Google has experimented with results that did NOT use backlinks and this was his answer:

“It turns out that backlinks, even though there is some noise and certainly a lot of spam, for the most part, are still a really, really big win in terms of quality for search results. We have played around with the idea of turning off backlink relevance and at least for now, backlink relevance still really helps in terms of making sure that we return the best, most relevant, most topical set of search results.”

Based on this sort of advice from iconic leaders in the Google algorithm, we have continued to include backlinks as an important part of our mix of SEO activities and we have continued to see that they are still immensely important in powering ranking improvements for our clients.

Moreover, links still help to sustain those high ranking positions, once you have achieved them. And that is almost more important.

Be More Natural

While they would prefer ranking results to occur naturally and spontaneously (like the Big Bang Theory), they know that many website owners are carrying out SEO to some degree. And while that is not a perfect scenario for Google, they are prepared to live with it – on condition that it is not over-engineered and overly artificial.

Over the years, we have honed a successful basket of engineered ‘natural spontaneity’ that has served and continues to serve our clients’ websites.

Diversification of Link Sources

To ensure that any links activity is seen by Google as “natural”, we have built a huge network of different link sources over the past few years – from article directories (yes, they are still very powerful for rankings), to press sites, to news feeds, industry blogs, social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, G+, Tumblr) and internal onsite blogs to profile sites and more. By expanding our mix and our portfolio of links opportunities, we ensure a far more natural spread of inbound links.

Diversification of Link Texts (Anchor Texts)

Another way of ensuring a far more natural portfolio of links is to use a range of different phrases when linking to various pages of the site. For example, we have found our internal ‘Link Trilogy‘ concept very useful for “naturalizing” our activities and getting better rankings.

This concept involves producing and publishing articles that incorporate a mix of what we call PrecisionNon-Precision and Co-Citation phrases in the text. A quick example is that to support a page about villas in Tuscany, we would publish various articles that will sometimes link to the page using a very precise phrase (such as ‘villas in Tuscany‘); sometimes link to it with something further afield but still close (such as ‘holidays in Italy‘) and sometimes link to it with something completely unrelated (such as ‘this is an excellent choice for your summer break if you are looking for a quiet and relaxing villa break‘).

And then to make it even more “natural”, we point these links not only to the Villas in Tuscany page but sometimes to a relevant blog post published by the company or to their home page or somewhere else that is deemed relevant.

Yes, this creates a huge and rather complex web of links and link texts and destination pages that needs to be managed very carefully for each client over a period of many months to ensure an even and natural spread. And, yes, it is a huge operations task. But it still works extremely well. And as we have been doing this for a very long time and have a few systems in place to make it easier for us, it now seems less burdensome.

So … are backlinks still important?

Definitively Yes!

Need help with your Backlinks Programme?

If you are worried about your backlinks program or think you have some toxic links, no need to panic. It is actually extremely rare to be penalized unless you are really criminal in your SEO, but feel free to contact me so we can analyze your links and let you know if we find anything that should concern you.


The Anatomy of an Effective Landing Page

The Anatomy of an Effective Landing Page

Most design and development agencies ignore the obvious and crucial preliminary stage before the design process. We have this conversation with our clients before the start of any project and so I have put together some of the issues that should be considered.

As part of our work as a digital agency we often design and build websites, and one of the most common discussions I have with my clients before we even start the design process is that of which Landing Pages we will need to create to help them achieve their online marketing objectives.

While this may seem an obvious and crucial preliminary stage before the design process starts, it is sadly ignored by most design and development agencies. I still see so many new websites being launched which clearly show that this stage was not properly thought through.

In a previous article, I wrote about how to decide which Landing Pages you need, so in this article, I will talk about some of the more important elements that need to be included in a classic Landing Page to help it work harder and generate better conversion metrics. As you can see, I have given some background to many of the elements, both in terms of their value to potential customers and in terms of their importance to search engines. This way, you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone.

  1. Main Headline

Headline for Customers: Remember that the purpose of a landing page is to be as relevant as possible for the particular search that someone made in a search engine. So, if someone goes to Google and types in “Best Beach Hotels in Portugal”, then your heading should be the most relevant answer to the query that they are looking for. How about something relevant such as “10 Superb Beach Hotels in Portugal”? Or, if they are looking for “Family Ski Holidays in Les Gets”, how about a heading that reads “Amazing Family Ski Holidays and Experiences in Les Gets”?

Headline for Search Engines: Remember that search engines also need to know that this Landing Page is relevant to the search phrase, so having a headline that uses most (if not all) of the words in the search string is super important.

H1 Tags: In addition, what is also very important is to make this headline an H1 tag… and remember not to have any other H1 tags on that page. You can have as many H2 and H3 tags as you wish, but for SEO, only one H1, please.

  1. Sales Copy

Sales Copy for Customers: If the purpose of a Landing Page is to provide the relevant answer to the reader and to promote the most relevant products or services in your company to them, then you need to write enough great copy that highlights the main USPs and the most important benefits of your product or service.

Please be Nice to your Reader: However, when it comes to the architecture of the page and the layout and design of the texts, I find that so many designers and developers, unfortunately, have no concept of easy reading strategies for the reader. As a result, I often see web pages with huge blocks of texts that are so cumbersome that most people will not even bother to read it.

So please be nice to your readers. Design your text layout so that you have short bursts of information, each with clear headings that the reader can skim quickly and with ease. Think newspaper, or, better yet, think magazine.

Sales Copy for Search Engines: In the good old prehistoric days of SEO (about a year ago!), I used to think in terms of 400-600 words per page and, as a very rough rule of thumb, approximately 4-6 instances of the key phrase, on condition that it would be deployed with grace and without affecting the quality of the copy and without sounding contrived in any way. However, this is all changing.  I am now thinking in terms of starting with well over 1,000 words of text and then having this text constantly expand over time (see “Expanding Content Strategies for Hummingbird” below).

Sales Copy for Meta Tags: While this is a very basic and crucial (and one of the original) criteria for SEO, I am still amazed how many new websites I see today where the meta tags (meta title and meta description) either do not exist or are the same for all pages on the site, with little or no ability to edit them on a page-by-page basis, even in the most expensive and complex website cases.

Don’t forget that meta titles and meta descriptions are not just there to help you get good rankings. In addition to that, and very importantly: if your SEO is good and you do get ranked, then the meta title and meta description are what appear in the search results in Google. So make sure that they are not only key phrase rich (to get those rankings), but also feature the strongest sales messaging you can create (to get those clicks). If you do this, the chances of people actually visiting your site improve considerably.

  1. Expanding Content Strategies for Hummingbird

We have been enthusiastically experimenting over the past year or two with strategies for working with the Hummingbird Update. While Hummingbird is still a bit of an unknown entity, one thing that is proving very successful in terms of Content Marketing and in terms of achieving amazing ranking improvements for our clients is that of having ever-expanding content on the Home Page and the priority Landing Pages.

At first, it was really hard for us to come up with fresh and engaging ideas for content that was not salesmanship, but now that we are getting so much practice thinking in terms of Content Marketing instead of sales copy, we are finding that it’s getting so much easier to come up with great ideas for our clients’ website and SEO programs. And it is a lot of fun too – always a very good ingredient for successful marketing.

However, whatever the content strategy is, it is important to have the page architecture and site structure mapped out and in place (in advance of building your site) in order to accommodate this type of ever-expanding content, and your Landing Page should be designed to house this content in a way that augments your products or services too. In many cases, it is quite a difficult graphic challenge to make all this content work well on your Landing Pages.

  1. Trust Indicators

Trust Indicators for Customers:  Despite what anyone tries to tell you in this era of Content Marketing, having good salesmanship on your Landing Pages is still important and still increases sales. If you would like to find out more about the difference between web content and web copy, read my article called ‘Is Content really better than Copy?

However, while it is important to sell, it is almost more important to build trust and confidence in your products/services and in your brand as a whole.

To do this, I have been urging my clients to incorporate various trust elements, including third-party review sites that provide customer reviews as a feed into their site, display guarantee seals, include logos of industry associations that they belong to, post-press clippings, etc.

Thus, when designing your Landing Page, make sure that your layout architecture can accommodate all of these options properly without them looking like a bad fit resulting from trying to add them in as an afterthought.

Trust Indicators for Search Engines:  While people need to trust your brand and your offering, search engines too need to trust your site. This is where you can take advantage of “Rich Snippets” that will provide good trust indicators that will help you get two great benefits from Google: better rankings AND better click-through rates.

By using these rich snippets together with certain third-party review sites, you can now display your star rating alongside your snippet in the search results. And assuming that you have a good star rating, it will help encourage more people to click on you.

  1. Strong and Multiple Calls to Action

After all is said and done, after all the great salesmanship has been written, don’t forget to provide those all-important calls to action and, alongside them, those iconic action buttons (buy now button, subscribe button, sign up button, send now button, etc, etc.).

Moreover, I always try to encourage my clients to provide multiple options to their readers. Phone number, email address, contact form, buy now option, call back option, live chat, etc.

Lastly, if properly thought out in advance, make sure that your page architecture allows these calls to action to appear in different places on your page, not just as an unintended add-on in the header.

  1. Navigation Strategy

Navigation Strategy for People:  In the ‘over-enthusiastic’ way that some of my clients try to ‘encourage’ their readers to see every possible page of their website by linking to every page on the site, I often see websites with just too many links. And the problem with this is that too much information leads to confusion and pressure on the readers.

I always try to persuade my clients to put only the few priority links (those that help to sell) at the top of the page and all the rest, if absolutely necessary, in the footer.

So, to give a really basic example, a link showing all your product categories or holiday destinations is important and should be more prominently placed at the top of your page. However, a link to your terms and conditions should be at the bottom (in small fonts in the footer).

This is a very basic example and in the real world, there are more complex decisions that need to be made about link priority. This is why it is so important to have a number of discussions about this with both your search marketing expert and your designer before even the web-design stage commences.

Navigation Strategy for Search Engines:  While search engines have a greater capacity for dealing with large amounts of information than mere humanoids, for them we need to think in terms of communicating the right message that will help us get the right pages ranked for more profitable phrases. And this is where reducing the navigation links becomes very important.

Each page has a certain value in the eyes of a search engine. I like to think of it in terms of link juice (but we won’t go into how to acquire link juice in this article).   In very simplistic terms for the purposes of this line of reasoning: the more link juice a page earns, the higher it ranks in search engines.

So let’s assume that your home page has 100 units of link juice and links to 100 pages on your site. Each of those inner pages will receive 1 unit of link juice from the home page. However, if we have a more focused and disciplined navigation strategy where you point to 10 of your landing pages, then each landing page earned 10 units of link juice.

Once again, while I’m being very simplistic, and it is never as black or white as this in the real world, the understanding of this principle is very important for your rankings. This is why I always discuss the navigational structure in depth with my clients and consider their options well in advance of the design stage of their new websites.

  1. Images, Videos, and Visual Aids

Visuals for People:  Simply put, the internet is a visual medium, where graphics and images need to communicate as well as words – and sometimes better.

So think carefully, even before the design stage, about what type of imagery can best augment your salesmanship and how to place it elegantly and appropriately on the page alongside your copy.

And when it comes to words, try to use them “graphically” too to help communicate your product as easily as possible. For example: make your headings really big, make your questions or each USP a larger font, and present them in bullet points. I always talk to my designer in terms of getting certain words to come out to the reader, instead of expecting the reader to work at reading them. It is an interesting concept and you can have lots of fun experimenting with this to improve your page.

Visuals for Search Engines: While search engines can’t see images, it is still important to think about search engines when it comes to your visuals. When you upload images onto your website, make sure that the file name of the image and the image’s (alt) tags are relevant to the image and also to the topic of that Landing Page itself.

If the image, for example, is of the great view from one of your luxury villas (Villa Rosa in Portugal), then call the image files something like: “Villa Rosa – View of Sea”. For the alt tag, you might consider something like: “You will love the sea views from our Villa Rosa in Portugal”.

  1. Keep the Important Messaging Above the Fold

The Fold for People: Keep the fold in mind. Today, people don’t mind scrolling up and down a little bit left and right scrolling is still a big no-no.

However, having said that, I always believe that if you expect someone to scroll down to see more, then you must give them enough above the fold to make them want to scroll down and read more.

There is still some debate about where the fold should be. While I still have clients who insist on 600 pixels, I tend to cater more to 800 pixels for most of our new website development projects. This is still a topic where 3 people tend to have 5 opinions but whatever metric you choose, make sure that your big sales heading, your main image, your main USPs and your initial call to action all appear above that line so that, even if some readers do not scroll down, they can still make a purchasing decision.

The Fold for Search Engines: As you probably have too much to think about already with all the advice above, you will probably be happy to know that the fold is actually not an issue that has any bearing on your rankings.

On the contrary, as discussed above, keep the lessons of Hummingbird in mind: the longer the page and the more text you have, the better your rankings.

  1. Branding

The last point I would like to make about Landing Pages is to highlight why Landing Pages are so-called. It is because they are intended to be the first page that anyone sees after doing a search in Google (or any other search engine).  This means that these readers will not be seeing the home page first and then find the landing page a few clicks later.

Consequently, every Landing Page must feature enough graphics, copy the content, and sales elements to convert your visitor.

Don’t put all your best salesmanship on your home page and just list your products on your product category page. Each category page, in the spirit of Landing Page best practice, should be like a home page talking about why the products are so suitable for the reader, why the company is credible and, as part of this, feature the list of products. It is actually quite a difficult balancing act that needs time to get right.

Putting it all Together

As you can see, even after you understand which and how many Landing Pages you need to meet your various marketing and sales objectives, the process of deciding which elements you need to include in each of your Landing Pages can also be tricky and requires much thought.

This is why it is so important to spend as much time as possible discussing your Landing Pages at a very strategic level, long before you even think about engaging a designer and certainly long before the developer starts to build your site.

Need Help?

Getting your Landing Page strategy right can make a huge difference to the success metrics of your site and the ROI of your subsequent Search Marketing and Social Media campaigns.

If you are about to embark on a new web build or a refresh of your existing site and are looking for some professional assistance for this crucial stage of your online marketing infrastructure, please feel free to give me a call.




Why Successful Sites Start with Spreadsheets

Why Successful Sites Start with Spreadsheets


As a digital agency, we design and build a lot of websites for our clients.

And as an SEO and Content Marketing agency, we have to overcome the obstacles that other web developers inadvertently set up in many websites to make any future digital marketing campaign extra challenging.

And, to be honest, we love the odds.

This is because most websites are built by developers, or development companies, who are passionate about code but have little knowledge or interest in marketing and sales.

On the other hand, as we are business-marketing people, our passion lies in salesmanship marketing, and we love the preparation and the application of solid marketing plans to the architectural structure of the websites we build – long before we even think of the designs and long before we even start to build.

And in my experience, this gives us (and our clients) the edge.

And when it comes to any planning process, even marketing plans, spreadsheets are the language of business people and of serious planning.

So let’s talk spreadsheets and let me show you the most important spreadsheets you should consider before you try to find a designer or a developer for your next site.


The Keyword Research Spreadsheet

This is probably the most important spreadsheet you will need, and this is where the story of your new website should really start.

From this spreadsheet we develop all other planning and mapping spreadsheets you will need and, in almost every case, I have seen it evolve into a few huge unexpected benefits for my clients:

  1. It focuses everyone’s mind on what the customer really wants, which is always a good way to start any marketing project – including a website.
  2. It helps us all focus on core USPs and copy strategy for the site as a whole.
  3. It guides us all as to which pages are really needed on the site in terms of Landing Page mapping.
  4. It also helps us discover and discuss the pages that will be used as an integral part of your content marketing and blog strategy. I see too many developer-led websites where the traffic-generation power of those secondary or tertiary pages that support each of your Landing Pages have been forgotten about or underestimated.
  5. It helps us map out the sales strategy of the site – and strangely enough, for the more successful sites it is not all about online sales but more about relationship-building for the long term.

When you commission in-depth keyword research for your new site, you should get a spreadsheet of hundreds (if not thousands) of keywords organised across many tabs and, in each tab, it should be organised into lots of specific groupings. And next to each phrase should be the search volume, which tells you how many people used that search term in search engines.

The Primary Navigation Strategy Spreadsheet

The first outcome of the Keyword Research Spreadsheet is to help you build your primary navigation spreadsheet.

Basically, by grouping keywords together into major categories we start to see the very rudimentary bird’s-eye view of your site structure and page mapping.

For example, if you specialise in safari holidays, then one possible main category breakdown might be by country. If this were the case, then the priority navigation in the header of your website would be your country pages.

But beware of making false or quick assumptions. I have been carrying out keyword research for over 15 years and I am still amazed at how often keyword research takes us somewhere the client was not expecting and reveals opportunities that they were not aware of.

And in the cases where the client has let keyword research lead them to new opportunities, the results have been stunning.

The Priority Landing Page Spreadsheet

At this point, it is very important to note a very common phenomenon. Your primary navigation path pages might not be your priority Landing Pages. In fact, they rarely are. However, this is where so many of our clients get led astray by developer-led websites.

Again, here are usually unexpected surprises that often end up offering far more profitable opportunities to our clients.

Let’s stay with our example of the safari holidays. In many cases, while the country might be the primary navigation of the site, they are not the best pages to designate as Landing Pages. In many cases, the keyword research might show us that a subsidiary page of a particular country – for example, honeymoon safaris in South Africa or family safaris in Namibia – might be more important than the South Africa page or the Namibia page of your site.

This is massively important because budgets are always limited and we need to know in advance which are the best key phrases to rank for – and, to do so, we need the site infrastructure to be properly mapped out in advance so that we can take advantage of the more profitable opportunities.


However, I still see so many developer-led websites where it is evident that this was not properly thought through in advance, nor properly mapped out. The resultant sites are simply not able to be flexible enough to cater to this type of marketing-led thinking.

Content Mapping Spreadsheet

Creating primary Landing Pages is very important.

However, I have been finding over the past few years that the promotion of these pages is becoming increasingly competitive, which means that larger SEO and PPC budgets are required to maintain good positions.

But it gets worse! I am also finding that even when maintaining good positions for our clients with ever larger budgets, Google is simply not generating the same volume of traffic to our clients’ websites as it used to.

Thus, with higher costs for lower traffic numbers, we need to implement new strategies for traffic generation at more sensible costs.
Enter Content Marketing! And enter the Content Mapping Spreadsheet!
For this work, we need to create a spreadsheet of phrases that people are typing in where we can provide good and relevant content in the form of an onsite article or as part of your onsite business blogging programme.

An unexpected and profitable outcome of this spreadsheet is that this will also form the foundations of your social media content programme. But more of this later.

Let’s look at some examples: if our keyword research tells us that there is a nice little pocket of people searching for “safari honeymoon ideas for July”, we would not want to send them to your home page, or any of your country pages, or even to your honeymoon safaris page (if you had one).

Instead, you could map out in your Content Mapping spreadsheet that an important key phrase is “safari honeymoon ideas for July” and, in the “placement” column next to the key phrase column, you could enter “blog post”. Then, when it came to writing this post, you could talk about how Southern Africa would be wet during these months and, as a result, you can tell your readers about some of the great honeymoon safari ideas you have to offer in the warmer northern climes.

Useful stuff. Great for generating lots of very targeted, long-tail traffic at very low cost.
The more of these types of content you create and feature on your site, the more opportunities you have of being found by very specific groups of people all over the internet who are asking very specific questions in Google and in social media; and, the more of this traffic and exposure you generate, the more business you can get.

The Key Phrase Focus Spreadsheet

The next one is a little less exciting but equally valuable.

In this document, we now need to list every page that will be in your future site. For each page, we need to decide if it will have a key phrase focus (don’t forget that each page has to have a different key phrase focus).

For each page, we then need to write a title of about 60 characters that says what the page is about, along with a short sharp description of the page (with or without a key phrase focus).

And while you are about it, don’t forget that the titles and descriptions are what readers will see if that page gets ranked, so don’t forget to put your best foot forward and write both of them with the best salesmanship that you can muster, including some of your best USPs.

It is a very long and rather thankless job, but this is what is going to encourage people to click through to your site when your pages get ranked in Google and other search engines.

The 301 Redirect Spreadsheet

Last but not least, the most irritating job in the world is the preparation of the 301 Redirect spreadsheet.

Basically, when you are reworking your site, much will change from old to new. For example, your old site usually has a huge number of pages that will not exist on your new site; or your product and other important pages will have different URLs; or you will have one new page that consolidates two old pages.

There are many such scenarios for change. Nevertheless, if you don’t make them official by notifying Google and other search engines, then, in essence, your site and your important pages will be considered as brand new. This means that they will start with zero SEO assets. And this will mean that you will have to start your SEO all over again as if you were just born yesterday.

To keep your SEO assets and maintain those rankings that were doubtless expensive and hard won, the 301 Redirect Spreadsheet helps you tell Google that, while you are dressed differently, it is still the good old you.

Now, I know I started this section saying that this is the most irritating job – well, I meant it. It is also a job that can take many days to get right and most of the time we will be trying to decide where, if Page A on the old site does not exist any more, in the new site you would like that page to point to. The home page? One of the category pages? A blog post? Trying to make these decisions is nerve-racking and, when you have hundreds or hundreds of thousands of these pages, it can frazzle even the most brazen of SEOs.

But it is important.

Article Source: https://leadgenerators.co.uk/blog/why-successful-sites-start-with-spreadsheets


Website Loading Slow? Here’s How to Fix It

Website Loading Slow? Here’s How to Fix It


Is your website loading slow?

Getting into digital marketing is a vital part of a business’s success nowadays. Some even say it’s even more important than the product itself. They say that you will end up wasting your time if you don’t have the right marketing tactics.

A large part of digital marketing comes down to your business website. Every business needs one now no matter how small or large they are. This ensures that people have something as a reference and to lure in customers with convenience and engagement.

However, if you have a slow-loading website, it can turn potential customers away instead. Many things that can make this happen. You need to prevent this to ensure a successful marketing campaign.

Here’s how you can fix this problem and make your website load faster.

1. Use a Content Delivery Network
A CDN comprises different servers in different locations. These are in strategic locations in an area to provide coverage to anyone who accesses the Internet. CDNs save a website’s data when a user visits it.

Doing this is a way for the pages to load faster the next time users visit the website. Not having your website registered in a CDN means you can’t enjoy this feature. This will cause visitors to experience the same loading speed every time they visit your website.

It becomes even more of a problem if your business revolves around recurring visits. E-commerce websites are an example of this business type. Visitors won’t be happy with slow business transactions because of the website’s loading speed.

2. Cut Down on Plugins
Plugins take up a lot of processing power on a website. This causes them to slow down the overall loading time. It may even cause them to crash in low-spec computers and may also force the blue screen of death.

These are all undesirables, so cutting down on plugins is the best option for you. Plugins may make your website prettier and give more functions, but removing those which don’t serve any vital purpose can help your website load faster.

This is a common occurrence for WordPress websites. The only way to ensure a clean code is to double-check as often as you can. The platform often leaves a mess if you’re not thorough with clean up.

3. Compress Images on Your Website
Placing images on your website is a great way to engage your audience. It may even convince customers to buy the product if they like the image they see. These can slow down your website’s loading time, though.

This is the case when you use high-resolution images for your website. These even take longer to load than the page itself in some scenarios. This makes the website look under-optimized and unprofessional.

These can impact how clients can look at your business. You can ensure this doesn’t happen by using compressed images for your website. You can also take your current photos and compress them with the help of special tools you can find online.

4. Choose a Better Web Hosting Service
Web hosting enables your website to go live. These servers make your website accessible to the rest of the Internet. These servers are often top-notch, but they’re often the reason your website is loading slow.

This is often the case when you opt for a low-quality web hosting service. It may have been a good choice before because they offer free web hosting. Now that you’re running a business website, though, it’s time to be realistic and opt for a premium web hosting service.

Premium hosting often ensures the longevity of your website. Make sure you register and qualify for a premium hosting service before you leave the first one. This ensures your website won’t experience any downtime while you transfer hosts.

5. Fix All Broken Links
A website loading slow means there are a bunch of broken links littered across the site. These are the links that lead to non-existent web pages. They are also the ones that have bad links and lead to nowhere.

These take up a lot of bandwidths from a website and make them run slower. This will apply to all website functions, including media loading. Having these infect your website will be a way to get a visitor to leave as soon as possible.

There are tools available online to help you determine which links have gone bad. Take this time to fix them and optimize the pages they lead to.

While we’re discussing links, reduce the number of redirect links. These can take up a lot of time and processing power. It’s better to remove them than to risk slowing your website down.

6. Optimize Your Website Design
The main reason you have a slow loading time is that the way you’ve designed your website is not optimal. This often means you have a lot of lines of code cluttering your site. These take up essential processing power and make the whole system load slower.

This is the most common case for business owners because they try to make their website by themselves. This is a noble effort, but it can leave you with a lot of bugs on the website. Investing in a website design agency is often the best move to make.

These professionals can optimize your website and make it the best version of itself. They can clear up unwanted lines of code and give you a significant speed boost.

7. Enable Caching
Having a caching plugin is the easiest way to fix your slow loading website. These plugins cache data to the visitor’s device to save. The next time the user visits the website, the website will have cached data to speed up processes.

This will cut down on a lot of loading time and make revisiting your website easy.

Is Your Website Loading Slow? Optimize It Today
A website loading slow will only mean the downfall of your digital marketing. This can then lead to the downfall of your business. Optimize your website now and increase your campaign’s chances of success today!

Improving your site doesn’t end here. There are other important factors to work upon, like your site’s design and landing page performance. Don’t worry if you feel a little lost — feel free to read more of our guides here to discover all the tips and tricks you need!

Article Source: https://www.articlecity.com/blog/website-loading-slow-heres-how-to-fix-it/


WordPress Maintenance Services Roundup & Comparison

WordPress Maintenance Services Roundup & Comparison


Originally posted on https://underconstructionpage.com/wordpress-maintenance-services/ 

Don’t lose your mind on a Sunday night doing maintenance, when you can hire professional WordPress maintenance companies to take care of your site. We analysed & compared all that Google could find.

You’ve decided to hire a WordPress maintenance service and stop wasting time fixing your site every time a new version of WordPress comes out? Smart decision! After some googling, it seems like there are dozens of nearly the same companies, offering the same “best” service for the same low price.

Compare 50 #WordPress maintenance companies on price, response time, location, services & more
Wrong! We thought so too, but after comparing nearly 50 WordPress maintenance services (twice, once in 2017 and now again in 2019), it’s obvious there are vast differences between the companies. Some data we got is astonishing and sheds new light on the entire WordPress maintenance business. Get the best service for your buck by accurately comparing maintenance services based on your precise needs.

Learn how much money you’re losing by doing maintenance on your own
Learn how prices changed between 2017 and 2019
Filter through 50 companies to find the best one for you
See who we recommend

I just click “update everything” and… it’s all good!
That’s an understandable approach. In most cases, it works out fine. It’s also a calculated risk you’re obviously willing to take. That’s the bottom line here – risk and consequences of things going sideways. If you’ve been around computers long enough (more than 5 minutes), you know things eventually do go wrong.

If you’re updating your cat’s blog and the process fails – who cares (ok, except Snuggles)? It’s a cat blog, not your livelihood. But if you’re updating a business site that supports your business as a marketing asset or actually is your whole business – can you afford to be down for an hour, three or maybe even a few days? What if you’re updating a site for a client?

Is “let’s hope for the best” gonna cut it? Probably not!
It seems unreasonable to risk prolonged periods of downtime if you can almost eliminate the risk for $57 /month.

Paying $57 per month (that’s the average price across all services we analyzed in 2017) is like insurance. Even with almost 25% of the increase in 2019, (the average price now being $71), you can’t really put a price tag on your peace of mind. If everything goes well, and we sure hope it will, it’s sort of “wasted money”, so it might seem a bit too expensive for you.

But, if anything goes south, even a little, it’s a minuscule price to pay to get it fixed. The monthly fee is still, in most cases, lower than a one-off fix fee! Bottom line – if a site means anything to you, leave the maintenance to professionals and spend your time doing business, not wrangling code and obscure bugs.

Avg monthly price for #WordPress maintenance services is $71 in 2019. Still, well worth it, if you ask us.
I do my own maintenance as good as they do!
While doing WordPress maintenance is not brain surgery, it’s still a job that can be done in an amateurish way (politely said) or in a professional one. If you see yourself in the latter group, that means you:

a) are a seasoned WP professional with years of experience in various scheduled and unscheduled (urgent) tasks ranging from DNS issues to plugin compatibility problems
b) have plenty of free time, more-less always, and value your work at around $20-$35 per hour

How did we get to that per hour range? The average cost of monthly maintenance was $57, now $71. If the company spends a bare minimum of 2 hours per month on your site (and with “small fixes” often offered for free they can spend a lot more), it means they charge 20-ish, up to 30-ish dollars per hour.

Aren’t the prices higher in 2019?
Indeed, they are. Not to leave you with 2017ish information, we did a double-check. The prices were not as high as we expected them to be. Still, the 25% rise in average monthly maintenance price is not to be dismissed as “nothing important”.

We went back to our table and made sure to note any changes. While the increase is higher, only 16 of 47 companies increased their prices. That means that over half of the people using these services are not paying anything more than they used to. Here is the list of companies that started valuing the maintenance they do higher.

Increased their prices:

Go WP +762%
MaintainPress +71%
Newts Labs +32%
Novage 1,120%
WP Dude 16%
WP Minder 100%
WP VIP Services +17%
Lowered their prices:

Steady WP -36%
The WP Butler -5%
WP Curve -6%
WP Fix It -31%
WP Maintenance With Love -5%
WP Relieve -50%
WP Tonic -20%

When it comes to one-time fixes, the results were quite interesting. Overall, there has been a 22% increase in average price (currently $83, $68 back in 2017). However, this increase in average price is not what it seems.

It is a simple shift of whether a company is doing one-time fixes, or not. Three of the companies that used to solve these “tiny issues” no longer spend their time on it, and three of the companies started providing these services, for quite the price (ranging from $100 to $299 per fix)! Only one of the companies provides lower prices for one time fixes, but they have increased their monthly maintenance fee.

Even with new prices in 2019, keep in mind that we have discovered that less than half of the companies (35% of them, to be precise), increased their monthly price, and about 20% of companies changed their one-time fix offers.

Overall, with over 65% of companies still doing maintenance for $57, you still value your work at around $20 per hour.

Is $20 your hourly rate? It shouldn’t be.
Hence, that work can be outsourced and done for the said amount, despite you thinking that your time is much more valuable. It may be, but in this case, people are willing to do it for less, so that’s still the market value.

If you’re taking care of your site, and especially if it’s more than one site do yourself a favor – realistically calculate how much is that costing you.

You could be charging $100 per hour for doing some other work, but you’re not. You are doing maintenance instead and losing money. To make matters worse, if this kind of work is not your specialty, it means it takes you a lot longer for the same task than somebody who is highly specialized in maintenance-related work. At some point, you’ll have to invest in some tools and plugins, so you’ll waste even more money.

When dissected, “saving money” all of a sudden turns into “losing money”. So, if you’re taking care of your site, and especially if it’s more than one site, do yourself a favor – calculate how much it costs you. Be fair to yourself while crunching those numbers.

Doing #WordPress maintenance & fixes on your own probably means you’re losing money
WordPress technical support & more than just maintenance
Although the focus of this roundup is on maintenance, if you look at any of the listed services’ websites, you quickly realize they offer more than just maintenance. In fact, for the (often low) monthly price, many offer so much more that we don’t quite understand how’s financially feasible for them.

“Unlimited small fixes” is something you’ll often find and as ambiguous as “small fix” is, we’ll assume that these support providers will assist you with practically any WordPress issue, besides building a new site. Some even offer free migrations. So if you’re looking for technical support for WordPress and thinking of hiring a freelancer to help you, think twice before doing that. Getting a monthly support/maintenance service for a few months might be a lot cheaper and more pleasant experience.

Avg price in 2019 for a (small) one-off #WordPress site fix is $83. Monthly rates are still cheaper!
How to find the best WordPress maintenance service?
Finding the best service that will take care of your WordPress site isn’t that easy. Although most of them offer the same basic package, details like the price and specific services vary. If you take the time to look deeper, you’ll realize a lot of these “companies” are a one-man-band operation. We value their efforts! But there’s only so much one person can do and sooner or later he needs to sleep, so having at least a few people available is a huge plus. We didn’t include any company size data because there’s no way to verify it.

Another “thing” we stumbled upon is a lot of name changing. One could call it rebranding, but honestly, it’s just changing the service name and domain. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you visit bestdogfood.com and send them an email, and they reply from bestcatfood.com, it doesn’t instill confidence in their services.

How did we test the companies?
After gathering the data available from their sites, we tested their response times and general demeanor when addressing potential customers. So, we came up with a simple email that we sent to each company on the list. Here’s the original email:

My name is Ivan, and I run a personal travel blog for about a year now.

So far, I haven’t had many problems, but for the last month or so, my site has been loading quite slowly. I noticed the changes myself, and people have started complaining about it and yet some popular plugins I’ve tried haven’t helped me much.

I was interested if I subscribe to your monthly plan, would you be able to speed up my blog and solve several other issues that I’ve been experiencing?

Can you also tell me where are you from? I want to make sure that you can help me with the blog at any time during my working hours.

Thank you for your time,

Some services have automated email responses which we didn’t consider. We were interested in emails sent by actual support agents.

All emails were sent around 2 pm GMT+1 time. Yes, that might seem unfair because it’s normal business time for some and the middle of the night for others. However, problems with sites happen all the time so, 2 am or 2 pm – it’s not really an excuse. Also, since we didn’t know where most of the companies were located, we couldn’t customize the sending time to be more friendly. We also hope that emails are prioritized so things like “my site is down” are taken care of before everything else.

As emails started coming back, we noted down the exact time it took them to respond. Those response times, as well as complete emails, are available in the table. As you can see, most services really did their best to describe what they offer and were more than polite. Some, on the other hand, replied with a very short email.

Please note that many companies are available for live chat and phone calls. Contacting them through those channels will surely give us a faster response, but we wanted a uniformed approach for all test subjects.

There are NO affiliate, referral or sponsored links of any kind in this article. So, click away 😉

Find the best WordPress maintenance service for your needs
We are providing you with their responses and what their services entail. However, with almost 50 companies on our list, it probably doesn’t help much. You still need to go through them and find the one for you. If this was the case, then this article would have been a complete waste of your time.

Luckily, we thought of that, so you can filter through our table of companies to find the right one. Filter it according to what you need, their price or location, or your preferred method of contact to get more specific results!

Unfortunately our tools for filtering maintenance companies are not optimized for small screens such as the one you’re using right now. Please open the article on a bigger screen to fully utilize our tools.

I need monthly maintenance services ▾
monthly maintenance services
a one time fix
for my WordPress site. I’d like a company from anywhere in the world ▾
anywhere in the world
the USA
the East
that is like any other ▾
is like any other
offers most affordable prices
answers emails very fast
and is available by email ▾
email & live chat
email & phone
email, live chat & phone


Taking Your WordPress Website To The Next Level

Taking Your WordPress Website To The Next Level


The great thing about WordPress is that it is so easy to use. If you have read our previous article, Start Your Work-From-Home Website With WordPress, you’ll already know how to install WordPress, find a great theme and create a range of pages and posts.

But the simplicity of WordPress hides an advanced system that, with a little bit of extra knowledge, can be made to do incredible things. Just looking at a few of the websites that are powered by WordPress as a content management system (CMS) says it all – WordPress makes building a site easier, but never limits what you can do.

Read on to find out about some of the advanced features of WordPress and how you can use these tools to take your work-from-home website to the next level.

Build A Work-From-Home Website With A Blog

Since WordPress was initially launched as a blogging tool, even the latest versions assume that your blog is the heart of your website. Although a blog is important, most professional business websites take a different approach, with pages as main content and blog posts as an additional feature.

If you want a static page to appear as your homepage, you can change a single setting within your WordPress control panel. First, make sure that you have created the page that you plan to use as your homepage, and a different page where your blog posts will be located. You can leave your blog page blank, as WordPress will automatically pull in every post that you add.

Then, from the Settings menu, select Reading. The first setting defines what your front page, or homepage, will display. Simply select the static page that you want visitors to see when they land on your website, and select your preferred posts page for blog updates or news items.

This relatively insignificant change can make a world of difference to how professional your website seems. Even better, you can still integrate your regularly updated posts into your homepage using widgets – WordPress includes a Recent Posts widget as standard.

WordPress Plugins – Making Your Website Do More

Although WordPress comes complete with the most commonly used tools and widgets that you will need, you can easily add new features using plugins. Plugins are installed through the WordPress interface, using the Plugins menu in your control panel.

There are plugins available for just about any task, most of which are available free. At the time of writing, the WordPress Plugins database features 21,500 plugins, all of which are searchable by category, rating and name.

Here are just three must-have plugins for any work-from-home website.

1. Use Akismet To Stop Spam

WordPress supports user comments right out of the box, and your visitors will be able to post their thoughts on the content that you publish. For your blog posts in particular, this is a great way to build a community around your business, improve your visibility on the web, and improve your search engine rank.

Unfortunately, as you begin to attract attention from visitors and potential customers, you will also attract attention from spammers that will fill your comments section with rubbish. Spam comments are easy to spot, but time-consuming to remove one by one.

Akismet is by far the most popular and most effective anti-spam plugin for WordPress. Akismet automatically detects the signs of spam comments, including lots of links to other websites and content that does not make sense. When Akismet finds a spam comment, it quarantines it and prevents it from cluttering up your website. Akismet is available free of charge for personal blogs, or at a low cost for business use.

2. Automate Search Engine Optimization with WordPress

Once your website is up and running, the hard work really begins. Now it is time to get some visitors! Search engines are a great source of traffic, but only if you manage to achieve a good search engine rank. Simply put, the nearer the top of the results you are, the more likely that somebody will click through to your site. Search engine optimization (SEO) is optimizing your website so that it is easily understood and preferentially indexed by search engines. A good WordPress SEO plugin can provide you with everything that you need to optimize your site.

One great SEO plugin is Yoast WordPress SEO. This multi-featured plugin carries out a number of automatic tasks to help improve your position, including internal links and suggesting the most appropriate keywords for you to target on each page.

3. Find The Plugin That Suits Your Website Content

As well as adding new functionality to your existing types of content, some WordPress plugins are designed to suit specific types of website. The Plugin search tool that is built into WordPress is very effective, and a good tip is to simply type in the kind of content that you want to add to your website.

You may want to add a portfolio to your website, showcasing the work that you have done to date. If so, a search for ‘portfolio’ brings up a plugin that is called, unsurprisingly, Portfolio. Portfolio gives WordPress the ability to run a portfolio section of your website, with images of projects and descriptions of what was involved. Whatever kind of content you have in mind for your website, you’ll find a plugin to help you create it.

Are You Taking Advantage Of The Permalinks Settings?

By now, your work-from-home website is taking shape. You’ve started to write pages of content, perhaps got the blog started with a few posts, and added the right functionality for your specific goals. All of this is great for search engine optimization and attracting new visitors, but there is a specific setting that can be used to help search engines find their way around.

When you create a blog post, it is added to your main ‘blog’ page, and also published as an individual page. This page is known as the Permalink page, because it is located at an address that will always point directly to the specific post in question.

Confusing Permalink addresses can cause search engine crawlers to miss great content on your site. Fortunately, you can customize your Permalinks to make them both search engine and visitor-friendly.

Under the Settings menu, select the Permalinks option. You will see that, by default, each page that you create is given a unique number. As you reach your hundredth or thousandth post, keeping track of these numbers is difficult!

There are a few different alternatives that WordPress can implement automatically – simply pick the one that you prefer. Ideally, choose a Permalink setting that includes the title of your post. This means that you will always recognize what the link is pointing to, and search engines will value the inclusion of keywords in your web addresses.

You can even define your own custom Permalink structure. For more information on doing this, visit codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks.

Backing Up Your WordPress Website To Protect Your Data

Launching your work-from-home website is a proud moment, particularly when your content is well organized and your design looks great. Conversely, there is nothing worse than the feeling in your gut when you realize that you have lost all of your hard work! So many WordPress users do not back up their websites on a regular basis. Don’t take the risk!

WordPress makes backing up your database and related files easy. One feature is under the Tools menu, named Export. This will save all of your posts, pages, comments and menus in a single file that can be imported back into WordPress.

Alternatively, why not consider a plugin to take care of back-ups for you? There are a number of back-up plugins available, including some that back up locally to your server and some that back up to external services, including Dropbox.

Finally, your web hosting control panel should offer the functionality to back up your files and MySQL database.

For complete peace of mind, use all three methods together.

You Have A Great Website – Now Make It Social!

A good business website is not just a showcase of what you can do. Successful small businesses use their website as a part of a much bigger online strategy that covers a wide range of social media. Your website should not be an island. Instead, it should be connected to every part of your online persona.

It is easy to integrate your WordPress website with social media using plugins. One great social media plugin is the aptly-named Social Media Widget. This can be added to any widgetized section of your website and displays icons that link to your social media accounts, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

You can also add social media sharing buttons to each of your posts, giving visitors an easy way to share your excellent content with their own followers. Check out Slick Social Share Buttons for an all-encompassing tool that can help your content go viral.

Finally, remember that your website can also send traffic outwards to your social media. You want potential customers to get in touch with you, so make doing so as easy as possible!

You can add your most recent tweets or Facebook fans to your website using plugins, or by copying and pasting ready-made code.

For Twitter, visit twitter.com/about/resources/widgets

For Facebook, visit facebook.com/badges

New Content, All The Time – The Secret of Online Success

You’ve installed WordPress. You’ve spent hours searching for the right theme. You’ve customized your installation with widgets, plugins and bespoke settings. Now it’s time to make the most of WordPress’s best feature – the fact that it disappears.

Over the coming weeks and months, you will notice WordPress less and less. It is a tool that never gets in the way, but just makes maintaining your website easier. So don’t fret about the details – WordPress will take care of those for you. Instead, take advantage of what WordPress can do and get to work creating the best possible content that your customers will love.

Visit HomeforBusiness [http://www.homeforbusiness.co.uk/] for more work from home business tips and ideas [http://www.homeforbusiness.co.uk/category/business-ideas/].

Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother of three, PR Consultant and Entrepreneur

Like many women on most days I seem to have to juggle all my roles. On other days just three or four. This is why I founded Homeforbusiness. I recognise what it takes to be a working Mum and how to set up an online business from home with all ‘pulls’ of everyday family life and work.

I have always been entrepreneurial and set up by first corporate communications company, EMA Productions, in my 30s working with big corporate clients such as Texaco, Rank and Boots. Whilst it was challenging and hard work, it was quickly successful. I could focus solely on winning contracts and meeting the clients needs without family distractions and with the support of a fantastic team and office.

I feel very passionate about HomeforBusiness as I believe that lots of people want to create a better work/life balance and work from home, either setting up a new business or working as a freelancer. There are hundreds of genuine opportunities for people but often people do not know how to start. I want HomeforBusiness to empower anyone who wants to work from home profitably. With a panel of guest experts I will share share genuine business opportunities, business ideas, advice on running a business, online marketing, and health and wellbeing tips. I have also put together my favourite free online resources.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Elizabeth_W_Conley/1396296


Industry News, Sites

WordPress Blogging Tips to Help You Get Started

WordPress Blogging Tips to Help You Get Started


If you want to start a blog, WordPress is probably the easiest and most user-friendly application you can use. There are even simpler options -such as using a free online blogging service such as Blogger.com, but then you really don’t have much control over your own site.

With WordPress, you get the best of both worlds -an easy to understand the platform and unlimited features that enable you to grow your blog and add bells and whistles as you learn.

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

First, I should point out that there are two WordPress. They are run by the same company, but WordPress.com is a service that hosts your blog for you -like Blogger, Tumblr, and other third party sites. These are often called Web 2.0 sites. There’s nothing wrong with creating your blog this way, but it does limit you in some ways.

When you use WordPress.com or any Web 2.0 site, you don’t own the blog. You are simply renting space on it. This means that the host can delete your blog at any time. This happens if you are deemed in violation of any TOS (terms of service). It’s surprisingly easy to do this, even without meaning to.

For example, WordPress.com does not allow you to make your blog commercial in any way. So if you want to start a business or even make a few extra dollars every month, this is not the way to go.

Another reason why WordPress.com and other such sites are not ideal is that you will have a harder time with SEO and generating traffic than if you owned the blog. That’s because most of the “link juice” generated by your article will go to the host rather than your specific site.

That’s why WordPress.org is what I’m going to focus on here. This is when you buy a domain, get hosting, and start your own blog.

Choosing a Domain and Web Host

Your domain is your URL -the address of your website or blog. If you haven’t chosen one yet, you will have to do this first. If you don’t have web hosting either, you will also need this. You can combine these if you want. Many web hosting companies offer you a free domain when you sign up for hosting.

When choosing a web hosting company, it’s good to pick one that has a lot of experience with WordPress. If you really want to be sure of this, you might go with WP Engine, a company that specializes in WordPress. They are, however, a little more expensive than most web hosts.

If you want to save money, you can still find a good web host that can support your WordPress site. Bluehost, for example, is highly recommended for this. They are even recommended by WordPress itself.

One suggestion I will make here is that, whatever web host you choose, try to pick a plan that gives you unlimited domains/websites. Sometimes one host will offer several different plans. The difference in price is usually only a few dollars per month.

The point is that creating WordPress blogs can be addictive! You will probably not want to stop with one. So you may as well have a hosting plan that lets you create as many as you want.

When choosing a domain, try to keep it short and simple. If you want your blog to rank well in the search engines, choose some good keywords in the title. These are words that people will actually search for when looking for information.

If your domain is something like Bobsblog.com or Marysblog.com, you will have a personalized name but not one that is likely to help you with SEO (search engine optimization). This is of particular importance if you intend to sell something. If you only want a blog to share with your friends, family members, co-workers, etc. then it’s not important.

How to Install WordPress

Installing WordPress is quite easy with most major web hosting companies. You usually use a script installer such as Fantastico or Softaculous (your web host probably has one of these -looks on your control panel). You can then install WordPress in a few clicks.

I don’t want to waste too much space here describing the steps of installing WordPress because you can find this at your web hosting company. There are also numerous articles and videos on this topic.

What Should You Blog About?

This doesn’t seem like it should be a problem, but many people experience “blogger’s block” after writing a post or two. I’m assuming that you’ve already chosen your topic. After all, if you can’t even think of a topic, it’s not really a good time to start a blog yet!

But even when you have a topic that interests you, it can be challenging to think of actual posts to write. For this, you may need to do some research for inspiration. Here are some ideas.

    • Set Google Alerts -You can get emails from Google that will deliver news to your inbox based on some keywords you choose.
    • Amazon -Check out what books are popular. Also, check out their magazine section!
    • Other Blogs -check out Google Blogs and see what others in your niche are writing about. You don’t want to copy them, but you may get ideas you can put your own spin on.
    • Offline Books and Magazines -Go to the library, bookstore, and magazine section at Barnes & Noble (or wherever magazines are sold). Read newspapers. These are all great sources of ideas.
  • Consistency is the Key to Success

If you have a blog, you have to write blog posts! This is really the most important “secret” to having a successful blog, believe it or not. You hear a lot today about “quality content,” which is, of course, important.

If you are populating your blog with auto-generated or spun content (if you don’t know what that is, don’t worry about it -you’re better off!) you won’t get very far. The search engines are quick to recognize this as low-quality content. However, you do have to generate posts on a regular basis.

Forgetting about the search engines for a moment, when a visitor sees that a blog hasn’t been updated in months, he or she is likely to conclude that it isn’t very active or relevant. You probably do the same when you are looking up new sites online.

Search engines also love blogs that are frequently updated. It also gives you more content for them to index. Let’s say a few words about SEO, as long as we’re on that topic.

The Vast Universe of WordPress Plugins

Once you get more familiar with WordPress, you may want to start looking into more advanced features. This often means adding plugins. These are tools that you upload to your WordPress site to perform a variety of functions.

Plugins can be used for security, SEO, to create forums or membership sites, to place contact forms on your site or hundreds of other things. Plugins give you the ability to accomplish many tasks that would otherwise require advanced knowledge of coding.

There are so many plugins for WordPress it would be impossible to keep up with them all. At first, you may not think you need any plugins -and this is true. Yet it’s so easy to use them that you may as well get your feet wet and install some basic ones.

You can access the plugin’s settings from your WordPress dashboard.

    • Akismet -This anti-spam plugin is already included when you install WordPress, but you have to get an API key to activate it. There are instructions on how to do this.
    • Google XML Sitemaps -This makes it easy for Google and other search engines to index your posts and pages.
    • W3 Total Cache -This is a great plugin to help your site load faster and operate more efficiently. It does this by caching posts, pages, databases, scripts and other elements that take up space.
    • BulletProof Security -Helps keep your site safe from attacks. This is important, as hackers often target WordPress sites.
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast -Makes it much easier to optimize your site for the search engines.

The above is a very abbreviated list of what you can do with plugins. If you have any particular needs or ideas for special features for your blog, chances are there’s a plugin that can help you achieve this.

WordPress: The Perfect Place For Your Blog to Evolve

What makes WordPress so amazing for bloggers is that it can help you at any stage of your blogging career. For rank beginners, it makes it easy to set up a barebones blog. Advanced users can play with all the configurations and plugins.

Yet WordPress is still just a tool. It’s up to you to come up with awesome content so people have a reason to visit your blog!

What is the best web hosting for a WordPress site? There are many options, but there is one clear choice if you want real experts in this field. If you have a WordPress blog, you’ll want to check out the Best Web Host for WordPress [http://www.blogging-tips.info/wp-engine-expert-hosting-for-wordpress-sites/].

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ron_Aldrich/113140

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WordPress Dashboard: Top 11 Most Important Settings and Components You Should Know

WordPress Dashboard: Top 11 Most Important Settings and Components You Should Know


WordPress dashboard or the back-end of your website is the first screen you land on after logging into your WordPress site. WordPress dashboard is the place where you start building, managing, maintaining, and customizing your WordPress website or blog. It is the place where you let your creativity explodes so that you can create your website or blog in a way that fits your business.

WordPress dashboard is also considered the behind-the-scenes which controls the functionality and look of your WordPress website or blog. It is known as the WordPress admin or administrative dashboard. Therefore, if you would like to create an excellent WordPress site, you must familiarize yourself with and understand all the settings and components of the WordPress dashboard.


In this article, we will go over the top 11 most important settings and components every WordPress site owner or webmaster should know in order to create an excellent WordPress site. Bear in mind that the settings explained in this article are the basic and default settings in the WordPress Dashboard. You may see additional settings and components in the dashboard based on the theme or plugins you installed and activated on your WordPress site.


    1. Admin Bar: This is the upper toolbar of the WordPress dashboard. It contains some of the most helpful links which can be also shortcuts to accomplish some of the most important tasks. For example, you can find links to WordPress’s official site, WordPress Codex Documentation, support forums, view your site, add new post/page/media/user, edit your profile and log out.
    2. Five Widgets: Welcome, At a Glance, Activity, Quick Draft, and WordPress News. These are the 5 default widgets that are displayed in the major space of your WordPress dashboard. These widgets give you a quick overview of what is happening on your site or blog along with some site stats. They also provide you with some helpful links to get started dealing with adding content, navigation, and customizing your WordPress site.
    3. Left-hand Main Navigation Menu: this is the left-hand menu of the WordPress dashboard which has items and sub-items to accomplish the various tasks on your site. It has almost all the settings which control everything on your site. Therefore, the next most important settings in our list, are the items included in this main navigation menu. To get to any sub-item of each item in the left-hand navigation menu, you can either click on the desired item to expand its sub-items or just hover over the desired item to have its sub-items flown out for you to choose.
    4. Posts: Posts represent the blogging aspect of your WordPress website or blog. The Posts are displayed on your WordPress site in reverse chronological order with the most recent post at the top. Posts are also called blog posts or articles. Post item has four sub-items which are All Posts, Add New, Categories, and Tags. In the All Posts screen, there are all the posts you or your users have made whether they are published, scheduled, or saved as a draft. If you would like to add a new post, you have to use the Add New link to use the writing editor. However, you will use the Categories and Tags sub-menus to assign categories and tags to your posts.
    5. Media: Media is the setting in your WordPress dashboard which is responsible for uploading and storing all the media of your WordPress website or blog. The sub-items of this item are Library and Add New. You can use the Add New link to upload new media such as images, audios, and videos. On the other hand, the Library is the section that stores all the uploaded media items.
    6. Pages: Pages represent the static content of your site. You can use them to create the unchanged information or rarely changed the information on your site. You can use them to create pages such as About us, Contact us, Bios, Employees, and Homepage.
    7. Comments: Comments administrative screen is the screen that contains all the comments made on your WordPress site. Comments represent the interaction between you and your readers. From here, you can check all the authors of the comments, do some responsive actions such as Approve/Unapproved, reply, Quick Edit, Edit, or move to Spam or Trash.
    8. Appearance: Appearance is one of the most important settings of the WordPress dashboard. Using the Appearance item, you can change the entire look, layout, design, and navigation of your website or blog while maintaining the essential software (Core) which operates your site. There are many sub-menus here such as Themes, Customize, Widgets, Menus, header, and Editor.
    9. Plugins: Plugins item is also one of the most important settings of the WordPress dashboard. Plugins add more functionality and capabilities to your WordPress website or blog. There are thousands of plugins out there most of them are free and you can find them on WordPress.org and some are paid or premium. By using the sub-items, you can upload/install and activate plugins as well as to deactivate or deactivate then delete from your site.
    10. Users: You can use the Users item to assign users to your site. This is a helpful link especially if you have a team or employees working on your WordPress website or blog. There are 5 different user roles which different access privileges. These 5 user roles are Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, and Subscriber.
    11. Settings: This is the last item in our list and it is an essential set of the WordPress dashboard. The sub-items of this item are General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media, and Permalinks. Keep in mind that you may see additional sub-items here depending on the plugins you have activated on your site. You can check each one of them to see the comprehensive settings available to manage your site.


I hope that this article would give you a good overview of the most important components and settings of the WordPress dashboard.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9775956


WordPress Plugins: The Creative Backbone of WordPress

WordPress Plugins: The Creative Backbone of WordPress


For a long time, the developers’ community acted as purists with respect to Web Apps Development. There was a strong belief that custom coding from scratch could be the only option. However, after many Open Source platforms providing faster mechanisms, the developers have adopted new methods. And, WordPress is one of the market leaders due to a wide range of WordPress plugins.


Supposing, you require an airline company and wish to build a self-service app. Probably a couple of years ago, you would have required custom development from scratch. The major task is to provide a set of dynamic bridges between the website backend and the CRM. Developing a similar Web App using WordPress would certainly save time in development efforts.


However, the larger advantage is how easy it makes to provide additional features. WordPress plugins for customer portals and service portals could connect your site with your CRM instantly. Moreover, it also enables you to use a single CRM license for your entire customer base as a user.
The world of websites and web development as a whole has a lot to thank WordPress for. At present, WordPress alone powers 29% of the Internet. Moreover, the market share of the WordPress CMS alone is over 60%. What makes us love WordPress so much? Ease of use, the Open Source Community, the beauty of the platform, the blog, so on.


If we unfold the mystery and go down to the micro-level, the answer could be WordPress Plugins. The availability of the WordPress Plugins for diverse use-cases is parallel to none. With a plugin library of over 35000 and over 800M downloads, WordPress is truly the king of the CMS!


The Evolved WordPress Sites
WordPress alone powers over 80% of the world’s most popular websites. To continue doing so, WordPress as a platform and along with that, the WordPress plugins must evolve. Not too long ago, the developer community encountered rumors (?) of insecure WordPress sites. For a long time, we believed that WordPress sites cannot handle large volumes of traffic.


At present, WordPress powers heavy traffic media sites and performance-driven eCommerce sites. The robust use cases within the WordPress framework are possible due to the wide plugin library. Further, WordPress rolled out yet another Security & Maintenance Release with the version 4.9.1. Post version 4.0, WordPress addressed most vulnerabilities. And extensive plugins ensured scalability.


The Next Question?
The majority of the small to medium enterprises are empowering themselves with CRM applications. Integrations of a website built on any platform with a CRM could be a tricky business. However, it is an essential integration as it automates several business processes for your business. WordPress and Web 3.0 provides just the perfect platform to build robust web applications.


WordPress Plugins Are Not Vulnerable!
It is not a question. Not anymore! There are many aspects that make a WordPress site vulnerable and plugins are not just the reason. Sure, not a logical one…


Based on the facts shared at the beginning of this post, it is obvious that hackers would target WordPress sites. It is a volume game. Finding a weak spot in the WordPress core would affect a higher number of sites than to do so in any other platform. And, so does the impact for WordPress plugins. As a site owner, you would want more secure options for your site.


However, the increasing penetration of WordPress into the top tier of brands demands higher security for WordPress plugins. And, in the past few years, the developers have worked towards ensuring so. Additionally, the past few years also portray that there is no such thing as a safe website in a literal sense. It is all about the best you can do to safeguard your website. And, how effective your backup & prevention tools are.


From Bloomberg to the Wall Street Journal Blog, there are many leading media sites powered by WordPress. And Media remains the domain to own the higher traffic per site across any region. The world of WordPress plugins is vast and capable to build an eCommerce store to sustain high performance.


Understand the challenges and ensure security measures. Enjoy development using WordPress plugins, after all, they deserve the due credit for making the internet so beautiful and fun to interact with.


Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Maulik_Shah/2413017