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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:

Hi,
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,
Ivan

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
Europe
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
email & live chat
email & phone
email, live chat & phone

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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

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Top 9 Reasons Why You Should Build Your Website On WordPress

Whether you’re just getting you business started and you are still learning how to improve your online presence or you have had a site for a while and you just aren’t happy with it, you may have heard of WordPress and might be wondering what WordPress is. Simply put WordPress is a publishing platform used for building websites and blogs. It allows for a highly customizable user interface. WordPress powers millions of websites worldwide, and many big brands use WordPress: CNN, PlayStation, New York Times Blogs, People Magazine, and even Ford- they all use WordPress! A pretty impressive list of users, if it’s good enough for the big boys, it’s good enough for your site. Still not convinced?!?

Top 9 Reasons Why You Should Build Your Website On WordPress

 

Reason 1: WordPress is not going anywhere

As an open-source CMS (Content Management System) it has taken the world by storm – as of August 2011, “14.7% of the top million websites in the world” are powered by WordPress. WordPress is often praised by web designers, web developers, and users alike for its ease-of-use. This is part of the reason it has become so popular, and why its growth just keeps on accelerating. I love stats, so here are a few more good ones: two years ago, WordPress was used by approximately 8.5% of the top million websites in the world, so to jump from 8.5% to 14.7% in one year alone speaks volumes for how popular WordPress is becoming, and how much people love this platform!

 

Reason 2: WordPress is no longer just for blogging.

A long time ago, when someone said WordPress, everyone automatically thought of blogging. While it is still the best solution to use for blogging, it has come a long way and has become a very comprehensive Content Management Suite used to power many different types of websites, including business sites, job boards, sites featuring classified ads, etc.

 

Reason 2: WordPress is cost-effective… it’s free!

It would cost a lot of money to have a custom CMS developed that could do the same thing that WordPress does; so why not save money with WordPress? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, with WordPress being freely available and customizable. Like WordPress, the plugins are generally free as well. These plugins are usually not only free but open source as well. This means that like WordPress, you can edit them if you need to.

 

Reason 3: WordPress is Flexible

A great thing about WordPress is, as I mentioned above, that it’s completely open-source – which means that the source code used to run WordPress is available to the general public. This means that anyone on the planet can modify the code if necessary and customize WordPress even further to be what they need. Often, this isn’t necessary, but it also means that any plugins and themes (templates) created for the platform are also open source! Imagine a world-wide community working together to add more features and functionality to WordPress – you’re not limited to only being able to use specific employees or developers to produce customizations, which means it’s a powerful CMS system ready to do what you need it to, it’s flexible and easy to customize.

 

Reason 4: WordPress is SEO friendly

Search engines such as Google love WordPress because it uses well-written code. If you’re looking to get a head start with Search Engine Optimization, WordPress is the way to go for your website and/or blog. While I am on the topic, adding fresh relevant content to your website is easy with WordPress which is highly recommended as part of your online marketing strategy since it tells search engines that your site is alive and well, thereby increasing your website’s rank and your chances of being found via organic searches.

 

Reason 6: WordPress Has Cheap Premium themes

Themes are what provide WordPress with its design, it’s what connects the CMS to the end-user. WordPress is very flexible and adaptable. While there are some pretty good free themes, I have found that for $70 bucks the good premium themes are simply worth every penny. Most need almost no customization!

 

Reason 7: WordPress Makes it easy to find a solution.

Plugins are basically add-ons that can be easily installed in the WordPress dashboard area to add features that are not part of the core code. If you need a specific feature or features that are not built-in, there are literally thousands of plugins available to enhance WordPress’ functionality. In almost every case so there is likely a solution already developed for anything you need – the possibilities are literally limitless!

 

Reason 8: WordPress is supported by a worldwide community.

Because WordPress is open-source, there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who are working to help make it better. You will find WordPress has a very actively supported worldwide community of WordPress developers, and users! WordPress is updated regularly, with new functionality, bug fixes, and security fixes. Also, because there is such a large community surrounding WordPress, any developer can work on a WordPress-based site to update it, make changes, etc., so you will never be held ransom by any one designer or developer. YOU own your website!

 

Reason 9: WordPress is easy to use!

This is maybe my favorite thing about WordPress. You don’t have to be a technical genius to learn how to use WordPress. I always tell my clients: if you know how to use Microsoft Word, (and let’s be honest who doesn’t?) YOU WILL be able to easily update the content on your WordPress site. You don’t have to be a web designer to update your content. That’s the magic of WordPress! Beyond editing content, WordPress offers a backend administrator interface that’s visually easy to navigate and very effective. Everything is organized in a logical manner, so it’s easy to find what you are looking for, whether it is adding/editing a page, Adding/editing a post or article, uploading images, managing users, etc. WordPress is the best Content Management System to use to build your website!

 

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/David_P_Mon/1320866

 

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Upgrade WordPress – Should You Click the Button?

Upgrade WordPress – Should You Click the Button?

Many people with a WordPress website wonder what to do when they see the notice in the WordPress admin prompting them to upgrade to the latest version.

 

Upgrading WordPress yourself can be as simple as clicking a button, but things can go wrong. Many people take it for granted that all WordPress websites should use the latest version. There is some risk involved, so it’s worth considering why it’s worth bothering – and what you can do to minimize the risks.

 

The latest major release of WordPress was version 3.3, released in December 2011. As well as the new features for WordPress developers, there are loads of improvements to benefit the average blogger or website owner:

 

  • My favorite new feature is the hover menus in the WordPress admin navigation, which gives you single-click access to any screen. It sounds simple, but it’s a big improvement that rather than having to click – for example – pages, than wait for the page to load, THEN clicking ‘Add New’, NOW you can hover over pages and immediately click ‘Add New’ in the flyout menu. As a WordPress designer, this has already saved me a huge amount of time and it will help you too.
  • It’s easier than ever before to upload images and other media via the single upload button in the WordPress toolbar. The drag and drop media uploader allows you to drag and drop files directly from your computer into the WordPress admin, rather than having to browse to the file’s location.
  • Whenever you add a new feature, a pointer tip appears to provide useful information on how to use the feature.
  • Touch support has been improved for those using iPads or other tablets to manage their WordPress website.
  • Version control has been improved for larger companies with multiple users editing the same pages and posts – the improved co-editing support locks posts who are being edited by someone else.
  • And more.

 

Website security is constantly evolving. Hackers are constantly working to discover and exploit loopholes, and WordPress developers are continuously working to close them. The latest version will usually have a number of important security fixes to protect your website. The responsible thing to do is to update to the latest version and protect your WordPress website.

 

Upgrading WordPress should be as easy as clicking a button, but things aren’t always that simple. Things can sometimes go wrong – for example, the new version might not be compatible with your website theme or some of the plugins. The worst-case scenario is that upgrading WordPress could actually break your website.

 

Problems are most likely to occur if:

 

  • Your website is particularly complex or has a lot of plugins installed
  • You haven’t updated for a whole and are running a particularly old version of WordPress, your website theme or any of the plugins

 

If any of this applies to your website then it might be worth getting a professional WordPress designer to upgrade WordPress for you. This is less likely to be necessary for simpler sites.

 

Upgrading WordPress will affect all files and folders included in the main installation, including all the core files that run WordPress and the plugins that come pre-packaged with it. If you have made any customizations to these files then your changes will be lost.

 

It’s not best practice to modify the core WordPress installation anyway, so if you have done this then I suggest that you find an alternative way to achieve what you’re trying to do. If you don’t know how then any good WordPress designer can help you with this.

 

Follow the instructions in the WordPress Codex to upgrade WordPress with minimal risk. This includes instructions on backing up your WordPress website before upgrading, so you have something to roll back to if anything goes wrong.

 

I would add a further precaution to make things extra-safe. As well as backing up your site, create a separate test site – this is basically a duplicate of your live site that you can test any changes on (i.e. upgrading WordPress) before applying the same changes to the live site. Although backing up is a good backup option (excuse the pun), restoring your WordPress site to a backed-up version is a hassle so it’s best not to let things go wrong in the first place. Upgrading WordPress on a test site first is the way to do this – as with any other major changes you make to your site at any point.

 

I’d also recommend checking that each of your plugins is compatible with the new version. You can do this by finding the plugin in the WordPress Plugin Directory and checking the compatibility box in the right-hand column.

 

Another tip is to wait a week or so until after a new version is released before applying the upgrade to your website. This gives the WordPress plugin developers and theme designers a chance to test their work with the new version and to release a new version if needed, which you can upgrade to at the same time. Don’t leave it too long, though, as running on an old version of WordPress is too much of a security risk.

 

If you update WordPress and the worst does happen then there are some things you can do:

 

    • If you backed up your site then you can roll back to the previous version. If you didn’t, don’t panic! Your WordPress web host is likely to have made regular backups of your site. Although there may be a charge for this service, they should be able to roll the site back to a previous version before you made the upgrade. This will get your website working again, but you will still need to work out how to upgrade to the latest version without breaking it again.
    • You can try to identify the problem yourself by deactivating all the plugins and reactivating them one by one. If the problem re-occurs after activating a particular plugin then try deleting it and replacing it with something else.
  • If you can’t get to the bottom of the problem then you could ask a WordPress designer to get everything working properly again.

 

You may ask whether it’s worth the hassle, and I would say yes. Any upgrade carries a risk, but this is more than outweighed by the benefits.

 

Most WordPress designers offer a WordPress upgrade service and can do it for you, including full testing to make sure everything still works properly – this may be worth considering for complex sites with lots of plugins or custom features.

 

And if you do it yourself, follow the tips above in most cases, your upgrade will be successful.

 

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Katie_Keith/1370851

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SEO Tips

SEO a Scam? The Truth About the Industry

SEO a Scam? The Truth About the Industry

I frequent many SEO and Web Marketing forums on a daily basis and every so often there is a debate about the SEO industry and ethics. After being involved in a number of these debates, it has become really obvious that the main problems are the facts that no two SEO companies are alike and there is no unified methodology. It’s very hard to make statements about the industry as a whole because it’s debatable what exactly ‘SEO’ is. Mix in the fact that most SEO companies keep their methodology and campaign strategies secret and we have a situation where every company is totally different with very different results.

 

Fact 1 : There is no unified SEO methodology. SEO is actually defined by wikipedia as a process of improving traffic from SERPs to a site. Of course, HOW they do that is the real question and causes the debates.

 

Fact 2 : The effectiveness of an SEO campaign depends on the site structure, site content, keywords, methodology used, and how popular the site is. A site cannot just rank for any random keyword. SEO is also not voodoo. It is logic, problem solving, and Web marketing mixed together. If your site provides no value to users, it probably won’t rank.

 

Fact 3 : Some ‘SEOs’ do search engine optimization and some do search engine manipulation. Of course, it is all marketed as SEO. Unethical optimization provides results at any cost and is always short term (usually ends in a banned domain name). Ethical optimization opens up the site to the search engines and provides long term benefits.

 

Fact 4 : Most SEO companies get paid whether or not your site gets any rankings. Unfortunately, this is the case with the industry. Most SEO companies implement A, B, and C and move on to the next client. Hopefully, the site ranks. If it doesn’t, they always have more clients.

 

Fact 5 : Most SEO companies use both ethical and unethical inbound linking strategies.To maximize profits, it is very common for SEO companies to buy bulk links from India, links on spam/scraper web sites, or sell large directory submission packages. It is also common for SEO companies to place huge amounts of the contract into inbound linking to make up for the poor quality of the site optimization.

 

I don’t think it is fair to characterize the industry as a whole without figuring out what is wrong with it and how SEO companies can overcome it. So how exactly do we determine what is good and bad about the industry? I have now been involved with the Web for over 10 years and, specifically, with the SEO industry for almost 4 years and I’ve seen the inner workings of major SEO companies and worked with clients who had been burned by their previous SEO campaigns. Combined with numerous Web postings and forum debates talking about the same basic problems, I’ve compiled a list of the most common issues.

 

Problem 1: Responsibility for Results

 

It’s no secret that the vast majority of SEO companies take no responsibility for results. It is a fact that no SEO company can guarantee results (and if they do, they are lying to you). It is also a fact that the client is taking a risk by spending money with an SEO company that basically says ‘We’ll do what we can’. SEO companies simply guarantee they’ll do the work to ‘optimize’ the site, but without full disclosure of their methodology, what exactly is the client paying for? No other industry sells a product with no guarantees and no specific list of work that will be completed. Of course, SEO work is basically the sales of information and keeping the specifics of a methodology is important, but the combination of secrecy and no responsibility for results really makes SEO campaigns risky. So, how can an SEO company reduce the risk for the client and provide the best grade of service?

 

Answer 1: Incentive Based Pricing

 

The only real way to reduce the financial risk of the client is to share the risk. Through incentive-based pricing, the SEO company can charge a certain percentage of the total contract (say 70%) to cover their intellectual property and time while placing the rest of the contract price (remaining 30%) in incentives for success. Of course, incentives and their percentage of the contract would be totally relative depending on the campaign. This first step into sharing in the risk provides both reassurance to the client that the company believes in its methodology and places some of the financial burden of the campaign on the SEO company. At the moment, however, very few SEO companies are willing to share in the risk and charge the same price whether the client gets top rankings or no rankings at all (or possibly even lower rankings).

 

Problem 2: Unethical Optimization

 

Unfortunately, unethical (or blackhat) optimization is still very prominent on the Web. It’s also unfortunate that ‘SEO’ has been mistakenly confused with ‘Blackhat SEO’. This is still the biggest problem for SEO companies. Saying that all SEO companies deal in blackhat optimization is like saying everyone who emails is a spammer. Blackhat optimization is not optimization at all…it is search engine manipulation. Because there is so much money tied to top rankings, there will always be a market for unethical SEO and search engine spam. Until companies realize what is ethical and unethical and stop supporting those blackhat SEO companies, they will continue to thrive. This makes the industry as a whole look bad and does not reflect the ethics of good SEO companies. Blackhat provides fast, short term results, but is never a good option in the long run.

 

Answer 2: Ethical Optimization

 

There is no quick and easy solution to blackhat optimization’s stain on the SEO industry. I would suggest that all marketing departments research optimization techniques and educate themselves on what techniques are unethical. No SEO company is going to say they do unethical optimization. It’s also not a good idea to immediately trust a company or product based simply on their rankings. Unethical optimization DOES provide rankings…just not for the long run.

 

It would also be helpful if the major search engines would be more open and accessible to SEO companies. Currently, the major search engines and SEO companies do not deal with each other and have formed a sort of love-hate relationship. Because of this, many ethical SEOs have slowly moved into dark territory. Ethical optimization seeks to make sites more easily accessible to the engines and help to improve the engine’s search results. The problem is that the search engines mainly clump all SEO companies together the same way as uninformed users do: search engine manipulation. This is just not the case. Search engines do not want to reveal what they consider unethical because it would basically be providing a list of holes in their algorithms that blackhat SEOs would be able to manipulate further, but a defined list of ‘what not to do’ would provide a definitive list for businesses looking for an SEO company.

 

Basic Rules of Ethical Optimization

 

Any campaign that does not abide by the following rules is dealing in unethical optimization techniques and should be avoided.

 

1.) What the user sees and what the search engine sees should be exactly the same. Do not hide anything.

 

2.) Your keywords (and the resulting optimization) should exactly reflect the content of the page.Keywords should always reflect what your site is about.

 

3.) Do not build out pages exclusively for search engines. The site should always cater to both audiences (users and search engines). Catering to only users is why optimization is necessary. Catering only to search engines is optimization gone too far into blackhat.

 

4.) Do not participate in manipulative inbound linking schemes like link farms, bulk links, triangle linking, or any other unethical manipulation of your Google PageRank or link authority. Inbound links should be relevant to the content of your site and you should always know who is linking to you and where your links come from.

 

Problem 3: Assembly Line / Software SEO

 

With the growth of the SEO industry has also come the automation of SEO. The absolute first thing any prospective SEO client should know is that all effective SEO campaigns are custom. There is no checklist of items that will work exactly the same on every site. If the SEO company claims there is, then they are not doing full optimization and the campaign is minimal. A good optimization campaign optimizes the site architecture, text content, and code of the site. Assembly line SEO does not take into consideration the unique needs/design of the site and may even deal in blackhat optimization. SEO software especially should be looked at closely. There are really only two things SEO software could do that would work for any site: doorway pages (showing engines one thing and users a different thing; which is unethical) or a system of pages build exclusively for search engines (often called info or information pages and linked in an out of the way part of the page). Doorway pages are 100% unethical and info pages are deep in the gray area. Neither of those two methods address the architecture of the site, proper keyword analysis, or effective text content. The following links are examples of automated SEO software freely available on the Web. All links contain ‘nofollow’ to prevent the sites from getting inbound link credit from our site. These sites are NOT recommended by TreeHouse SEM.

 

http://doorwaypagemaker.com/ – Doorway page system; UNETHICAL

 

http://www.doorway-wizard.com/ – Doorway page system; UNETHICAL

 

Answer 3: Custom Campaign and Assessment

 

‘SEO Software’ may be cheap and affordable, but you get what you pay for. Any campaign that is going to slap on additional pages are simply sell you links is NOT an effective SEO campaign. Any SEO effort that simply has you add a few ‘optimized’ pages to your site is not going to be optimal. If you wanted to convert a street car into a race car, you don’t simply add racing strips to it. Don’t think that dumping a few pages on your site targeted to some random keywords is the same as a real SEO campaign.

 

If your SEO company will not sit down and talk about the layout, architecture, and aim of your site, then it is not providing a top-end service. Remember that the vast majority of ‘SEO software’ either is for building doorway/landing pages or simply providing you with data about your site (data that is already free to everyone on the Web). Good SEO campaigns take into account both the user and the search engines…not one or the other. An SEO company should have a commanding understanding of user experience and search engine optimization and use these in combination to create a campaign that will provide the best ROI. The end goal should always be leads/sales. Bringing in piles of non-targeted traffic often leads to extremely high turn over rates and very low lead conversion.

 

Conclusion

Do your research. Find out what you want from an optimization campaign and then ask the right questions. Make sure that the sales representative you talk to knows what they are selling. If they do not, they are definitely not the person to get information from. A lot of SEO companies use hard sale tactics and the reps are less than knowledgeable about what they are selling. Ask the following questions and see what they have to say.

 

1.) How do you assess keywords? If an SEO company simply optimizes for whatever keywords are sent to them by the client, the SEO campaign starts off on very shaky ground. Keyword analysis should be performed that takes into account the number of searches in all the major search engines and the relative competition for those terms. The site should also be compared to the keywords to see if they support each other.

 

2.) Do you plan on building out pages specifically to house keywords? Landing pages and doorway pages are not effective long term SEO options. SEO companies like them because they do not have to touch the rest of the site and it’s very easy to simply add band aids instead of performing surgery.

 

3.) Will my SEO campaign also help improve the user experience of the site? Proper architecture and usability goes hand in hand with SEO and helps increase ROI. You should want to bring in new traffic and convert it.

 

4.) Does my revenue model affect my keyword selection and the optimization as a whole? Any SEO company that does not optimize based on the target audience is NOT providing the most effective campaign. An ecommerce site marketing to comparative shoppers will want to optimize heavily for product names and model numbers. An online magazine wanting to bring in recurring traffic will want to optimize for article topics and specific themes. Local companies will want to optimize for geo-targeted keywords.

 

5.) I want to optimize my site, but do not want to change any of the existing content or layout…how would you go about this? Any SEO company that says they will simply add on landing pages or hide text is selling blackhat. This goes back to the earlier analogy. You are really saying that you have a car that you want to modify to be very fast, but do not want to modify the engine and the mechanic simply adds racking stripes and charges you full price.

 

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Steve_Devries/143414

 

Support Sunday

How To Ask For Tech Support The Right Way

We all have had to face a tech problem in the past that required us to seek tech support. The problem can range all over the place, it could be a problem with your printer, computer or who knows maybe even your cell phone. When it’s time to try and find tech support, in order to get the support you want, here are a few tips on things to do when submitting requests for tech support, or even just doing a quick web search for it.

 

Be More Specific

 

This is the main one. If someone came to me and said “my computer isn’t working, how do I fix it?” I could not help them. This request is too generic. It has no detail what so ever. I can already start asking questions like, what is it showing you? When did this happen? What were you doing at the time? These are just a couple things I might ask the person asking for my tech support. You got to actually tell me what’s not working. After I get the answers to these questions I would still have to ask more such as, what OS does it run? How long have you had it? What OEM made the computer? Of course, if you are using something else than a computer trying to get tech support adjust the questions you will need to answer in your request to suit that piece of technology. Another good thing to include here would be the specs. of the computer. Tech support will want to know things like what the CPU of the computer is and how much RAM you have. These are all important in case maybe someone else has had the same issue with that same RAM company or something like that. If someone had the same issue, it will be much quicker for tech support to troubleshoot it.

 

Include Model Numbers In Your Tech Support Request

 

This can help tech support a lot if they can get the model number of the computer, printer, etc. you are trying to get tech support for. In fact, if you include this they may not even need to ask for the specifications of the computer. They will be able to research your model number and find all that and more about the computer. This is also something super useful to use when searching Google or other search engines for tech support. You can get help or advice from people who know your technology exactly and maybe have encountered this issue in the past and learned how to troubleshoot it.

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Write a Little

 

If you are posting your request on a Q&A site or support forum for example don’t be afraid to write a good paragraph or two on what exactly is up with this certain piece of technology you need support for. If the site has some good people they will read it and will be able to provide much better support to you because they actually know at least what is happening.

 

Include Screenshots or Video

 

If it is possible, try including screenshots or pictures with your requests. If the error has a sequence, maybe even try getting a video up on YouTube so people can see what is happening. A visual can always help people know so they don’t have to make their own visual in their head. If you have to, don’t be afraid to use a camera and just take a picture of the screen if you can’t get a screenshot. The quality obviously won’t be as good if you go down this path, but at least you have a visual for those trying to aid you with tech support.

 

Overall the main idea here is detail, detail and you guessed it, more detail! If you can get this idea down you will be on your way to submitting better tech support requests that will get you the answers you need faster. After all, everyone wants the problem fixed, now! I truly believe that following these tips can get you closer to that. Though, one more thing, if you can get on phone support, do it! That is a very good thing! Phone support allows you to explain, using the power of your voice, in real-time. So, if that is an option, use it! Do you have some tips? Leave them as a comment!

 

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ryan_R_A/1370383

 

Elula, Industry News

SA WordPress group

Need wordpress help ? From a community ? Join the fere wordpress Facebook group. Below is a link for the group where we encourage interaction, sharing of ideas and asking questions.  You are not alone so join – stalk the group if you must however if you have a question ask away and if you can help someone then please do.

 
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Elula, Industry News

WordPress keep it real and alive

Great so you have a new WordPress site – congratulations. Now look after your site or it will become a problem. WordPress really is a phenomenal choice of a CMS where you can control more than the look and feel, you control all the content. There are also a ton of plugins that one can do that allows you to do some amazing things with your platform. Whatever you do look after it. The reason being is that WordPress is an open-source platform and that means it is open to vulnerabilities.

 

Vulnerabilities generally by people who need to send mass amounts of spam, want to deface your website or get redirects to their porn plages or similar. However, don’t stress simply keeps the site updated and stay on top of what is happening with your site or simply outsource the task. WordPress needs to be updated and kept updated along with all the plugins that you have installed. When plugins have a vulnerability and this is found out it will make it way to the dark web or shared on hacker forums. This means people who know the exploit will search for sites using outdated plugins or WordPress versions and target their attacks at these sites.

 

Wordpres

Note the theme is just as important if not more so than the plugins. so keep an updated site and WordPress. So you need to treat your whole platform and keep it clean.

 

But wait! Please don’t just push the update buttons all across your site and expect everything to be ok. You see some themes don’t make use of child themes which means that often simply updating a theme will throw out your changes and you will need to redo the changes you made when you initially set up the site. This goes the same for the plugins so please be sure to make a backup of the whole WordPress before you hit the update buttons.

 

Here are some great links or ideas that I want to leave you with:

Naturally, if you need any help use the contact form we have dozens of years experience with WordPress and can assist you with anything you need or can dream of with your WordPress platform. We also have simple hosting and maintenance packages where we monitor your site – make sure the site is up and there are crucial backups done of your site that work.

 

 

 

freelancer
Elula

Problem solved by outsourcing

Is there a web development problem you have that you cannot solve or don’t have the capacity to do it?

Then outsource! I read this recently and believe it encompasses what I want to convey today:

Going forward, the company built on outsourcing needs to insource a bunch of key disciplines and capabilities

There are some fantastic pro’s to outsourcing:

High cost savings
You save a lot of money when you only pay for services provided / projects finished. Not to mention, no HR costs , leave and staffing issues focus on what you need to get done and by when rather than how you doing it!

Reduces overhead costs
When you hire an outsider you don’t worry about overhead costs like office space, office supplies, computers, internet access and more. This reduces expenses significantly.

Immediate access to talent and solutions
This for me is the biggest one – you will lose hours if not days asking a plumber to change a spark plug. Get the solution you need when you need it, save the extra time it will take you trying to do it yourself. You know something like trying to fix the geyser yourself you ended up calling in the plumber. Well, work issues are the same. Look at the solution been presented and the problem contained and taken care of, this will free you and your team up to do what you need to – look after customers and bring in the sales.

Now if you are an entrepreneur like myself then I urge you to consider insourcing solutions by outsourcing the work. Over the last few years, we have worked closely with companies in South Africa and the UK. Companies and agencies that sell services and solutions in the market that are top-notch. They bring us into the game when they are either to busy to handle their workload or need a task completed they don’t have the skills to handle. By making use of Elula Online we have a team of over 20 people and access to double that with our extended freelancer network, this means whatever your problem or your challenge we can assist you.

So in 2020, we want to see you grow – you sell it and we will make sure it happens for you and your client, oh and your client does not even need to know we doing the work. We understand the client relationship is crucial and who’s the client all the time so stress, not you take care of the clients and we take care of the work you need to be done and the problem you need solving.

If you would like to discuss this further please drop me an email directly kevin (at) elula . online – no spaces ok 🙂 and let’s chat.