fbpx
Elula SItes
Sites

7 Reasons to Use WordPress for Your Next Website

7 Reasons to Use WordPress for Your Next Website

The days of being held to ransom by expensive web developers are over. At LeadGeneratorsDigital, we’re amongst the many progressive web design teams building innovative, intelligent, powerful, and incredibly quick-to-market WordPress websites. Here we share just seven of the many good reasons why we recommend WordPress to our clients.

The process of building a website has, traditionally, been enough to send a shiver down the spine of any Marketing Manager or business owner – it’s perceived as being complicated, expensive, and fraught with difficulties. And, in the past, this has indeed been the case, with website projects often stalling for months and even years. I’ve seen so many business owners’ entire operations languish at the mercy of developers building sites using “complex” development platforms such as Joomla, Magento, Drupal, etc. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

As Experienced Web Designers and Developers, at LeadGeneratorsDigital We Favour WordPress.

Without exception, our clients have reaped the rewards of being able to achieve a professional website with powerful functionality, impressive flexibility, and the ability to get to market in an incredibly short time. The industry trend towards WordPress has been rapid and decisive and, for my money, it’s not hard to understand why. It’s quick and easy, powerful, and flexible, it keeps your development costs very low and allows you to expand and adapt your site organically as your business grows. Based on our recent successes we have compiled a list of seven compelling reasons why we love WordPress and why we are increasingly recommending it to our clients.

WordPress is Quick, Easy and Robust

Our clients are always thrilled (and more than a little surprised) with just how quickly we can get a beautiful and professional WordPress website up and running. Even with its robust and solid functionalities, from inception to completion we can create a large corporate site in a matter of a month or two, as opposed to several months or even years.

It Puts You in Full Control of Your Website

The trend towards WordPress means that there is now a huge pool of skilled developers trained in the platform, while other, more complex systems are seeing fewer and fewer developers who can code and build. This means that while development costs for other systems keep increasing, WordPress developers are coming down in price. This is good news for website owners, as it means that WordPress allows for more choice and more freedom to walk away from a slovenly or expensive developer that you are not 100% happy with. Instead, you’ll be able to find a good, low-cost replacement quickly and easily – which puts you in full control and back in the driver’s seat of your website, while also reducing costs.

Dynamic Functionality

WordPress affords you a veritable and seemingly endless smorgasbord of functionality options with ready-made plugins that allow you to achieve even the most ambitious business visions. Instead of upgrade requests being complex and taking days or weeks to deliver, our clients who are using WordPress are usually delighted how little time we need to implement so many of their upgrade requests. And that means that we can usually deliver on these requests the same day or the next.

Easy Editing

The biggest complaint we have heard from our clients with non-WordPress sites over the years is how difficult, complex, and time-consuming their old Content Management System is. It seems that most CMSs are built by techniques, for techniques – and we humans are somehow a necessary irritant. This makes even the simplest editing job a time-consuming nightmare and many of our clients complain that they are spending all their time trying to understand their website, rather than improving it.

In contrast, the WordPress CMS is a breath of fresh air that is far more intuitive, very user-friendly, and much easier to learn.

You can tell that WordPress was designed by humans, for humans, and I love hearing from my clients how much easier their lives have become with their new WordPress websites. All of a sudden, working on their sites becomes a pleasure and they can put more of their time and energy into being creative, rather than frustrated.

WordPress is SEO Friendly

Being passionate about SEO, we just love how search engine friendly WordPress is by default. It allows for the quick and easy implementation of SEO opportunities that seem almost impossible to implement on other website platforms. And as we run Search Engine Optimisation programs for many of our clients, that makes it so much quicker and easier for us to get them ranked well in Google.

Google Loves Your WordPress Site

Everyone’s out to impress Google and WordPress seems to have caught the eye of the search giant.

Conspiracy theories aside, it seems that Google has a bit of a love affair with WordPress. We have noticed for a long time already that it is so much easier to get great rankings with WordPress sites. This is important; as it helps our clients achieve much bigger and broader marketing and sales objectives with much lower budgets.

WordPress Offers Responsive Web Design

WordPress is nothing if not flexible and its responsive capabilities mean your website will look and function just as well on a mobile phone or tablet as on a desktop computer or laptop. You can rest assured to have a fully responsive website from the get-go.

 

The Need for Automated Website Monitoring
Sites

The Need for Automated Website Monitoring

The Need for Automated Website Monitoring

 

Internet

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.

Sites
Sites

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.

sites
Sites

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.

 

 

Sites

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

 

wordpress
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

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7510480

php
Sites

Basics Of PHP

Practical Uses of PHP

It almost goes without saying that you will want your business website to be compelling, interactive, and secure. All of these characteristics will make your website more effective at bringing in and keeping customers. But how to go about it in a way that is stable, cost-effective, and easy to manage? One popular solution is to use the server-side scripting language PHP to help you solve those problems.

 

What is PHP?

Created in 1995, PHP originally stood for “Personal Home Page”, however it is now generally understood to mean “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor”. It was originally designed to create dynamic or more interactive web pages. It is a widely-used, open-source, general-purpose scripting language. PHP is a “high-level” language, meaning that it’s generally more human-friendly (and easier to learn) than other programming languages such as C, ASP or ASP.net.

 

PHP was originally designed for use in Web site development but rapidly grew to become a much more robust language. PHP’s primary use is as an “embedded” scripting language, which means that the actual PHP code is embedded in HTML code. When used in this way, PHP enables your web server to process web pages before they’re displayed in the user’s web browser.

 

Benefits of PHP

 

PHP is popular because it can be embedded directly into HTML coding.

PHP can be used on all major operating systems and is supported on most web servers.

PHP’s main focus is development for the web, so it has a quick development time and can solve scenarios much quicker than some of the other web design languages.

The latest version of PHP is a very stable and mature language used for web programming much like Java and Microsoft C#.

It is open source so it is free!

Database: It is very easy to write simple scripts which allow your Web site to interact with a database.

Cross-Platform: Both the PHP engine and the PHP code can be used on almost any platform, making it extremely versatile.

Development Tools: You only need a text editor to work on PHP; you do not need any development environment or compilers.

 

What can you do with PHP?

PHP generally runs on a web server, taking PHP code as its input and creating Web pages as output, however you can also use it for command-line scripting and client-side GUI applications. PHP is an extremely versatile language which enables you to create high-end, stable Web sites with plenty of bells and whistles. Here are just a few of the things you can do with PHP:

 

Make HTML Web Forms

Store Information in Databases

Remember Web site visitors (cookies and sessions)

Work with Arrays

Work with Files (File Management and downloads)

Parsing and Generating XML (also useful for large quantities of products on e-commerce)

Check which browser your visitor is using

 

How does PHP Work?

As its name (“PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor”) suggests, PHP derives its power by “preprocessing” hypertext on the server side. This generally means that when the PHP script (saved as a .php file) runs on your web server, it performs the programmed actions, and returns HTML code that will then be sent back to your customer’s web browser. The PHP script itself is not included in the HTML that is sent to the browser, so the PHP code is invisible and secure to the user.

 

For example, let’s consider the following simple PHP statement. (This example is merely to show the basic syntax of PHP in action. Any detailed discussion of PHP code is beyond the scope of this article.)

 

In this statement,

 

is the PHP opening tag,is the closing tag, and echo is a PHP instruction that tells PHP to output the text that follows it as plain HTML code. The PHP software processes the PHP statement and outputs the following:This is a regular HTML statement that is delivered to the user’s browser. The PHP statement itself is not delivered to the browser, so the user never sees any PHP statements.

 

Using PHP to Improve Your Website.

 

PHP has many capabilities features designed specifically for use in Web sites, including the following:

 

1. Securing Your Website.

PHP can be used to secure your website (or certain areas of your website) so that your customer must enter a valid username and password. This can be used to reward preferred customers and to build an exclusive “membership” component of your business.

 

2. Working with Web Forms.

PHP can display an HTML form and process the information that the user types in. This can be an excellent way to learn more about your customers by asking them to provide profile information, and to collect information about their specific interests.

 

3. Communicate with Your Databases.

PHP is particularly adept at interacting with your databases, and storing information from the user or retrieving information that is displayed to the user. PHP handles connecting to the database and communicating with it, so it’s not necessary to know all of the technical details for connecting to or exchanging messages with the database. You tell PHP the name of the database and where it is, and PHP handles the details. All major databases are currently supported by PHP.

 

4. Customer Loyalty Functions.

You can also use PHP to create a number of different functionalities on your website that will further help you to build customer loyalty, including interactive polls, a guestbook, and a message board.

 

The popularity of PHP continues to grow rapidly because it has many advantages over other technical solutions. PHP is fast (because it’s embedded in the HTML code, the time to process and load a Web page is relatively short), PHP is free (it is open-source software), and PHP is versatile (is runs on a wide variety of operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and most Unix variants).

 

Perhaps most importantly, PHP is a very well-established language. There are many user-run Internet communities that make very large amounts of information (and scripts) available. With so much experience behind it, using PHP for certain dynamic features can be a cost-effective and low-hassle way of increasing the stability of your website.

 

Jeremy Gislason is a leading expert on membership sites, marketing and online business. For more Business Strategies, Membership Site Software and Information visit MemberSpeed.com

 

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jeremy_A_Gislason/137896