We often hear from clients that they tried to create a website themselves which is great for startups and companies on a strict budget. Here are some mistakes people often make when trying to create their own website in WordPress. These are just some of the standard best practices that are used when you purchase a professional website.
1. Not Changing Default Username For Admin– Admin used to be the standard username with each new WordPress install, this is a huge security compromise. Usernames and passwords must be complex.
2. Forgetting Optimization For Images – you must add descriptive alt text for each image
3. Mistaking A Self-Hosted WordPress With a Free One – A self hosted WordPress website will use the platform available at wordpress.org.
4. Forgetting to Create Backups – this is essential to set up automated backups- be familiar with back up retrieval
5. Not Being Careful When Downloading Free WordPress Themes – You must use a reputable, supported theme provider with proper coding. Check for ratings and support history. Make sure coding is current ie. don’t use a theme coded with PHP 5.2 or 5.3 which is deprecated. Choosing a pretty theme is not the way to decide to use it.
6. Not Installing a Plugin For Caching – Caching will help speed up the site for the viewer
7. Avoiding Comment Moderation– moderation allows you approve the comments that are posted on your website, without it you will find loads of spam posts and junk links.
8. Leaving Out a Contact Form – A contact form ensures the email gets to you from any device. Check functionality on a monthly basis with a test message.
9. Not Paying Attention to Security – Security is important for the longevity of the site. Enable: Brute Force Protection, Strong Password Enforcement, 404 Detectionm Malware scanning and more
10. Ignoring Updates From WordPress – Regular maintenance is essential to keep the functionality of your website. Like a car, you need to change the oil. Same with your website, you need to do the updates so your website will last.
Who to hire and what are they good at?
As a small business owner it can be confusing to know who to hire to help market you business. There are people jumping up right and left saying they do “marketing” but what does that mean? What do they actually do? Business coaches are acting as marketing experts when they don’t have any hands on experience. Making the wrong decision can be very costly. It at all possible, hire the company that does the work in house.
Please choose wisely!
There are may disciplines to marketing : research, concepts and planning, Outbound ( print, radio, TV, PPC, Adwords ) Inbound ( e- newsletters, social, video, web, blogs). The list goes on and it can get really confusing. It is doubtful one person can be an expert in all these disciplines. Don’t hire the web person for Radio ads and don’t hire the business coach for web design. Hire good professionals in the proper disciplines.
First isolate your demographics:
- Who buys what you do?
- Ideal client
Then research, research, research.
Come up with a marketing strategy or hire someone to help you. A website is usually a part of this marketing strategy. It is a tool that can be used as the hub of your marketing that will help convert the viewer to a potential client. The website will house all the information about your business and contain interactive elements to help call the viewer into action.
A website is by no means the only marketing tool to use.
An experienced website professional can help with digital marketing strategy, online marketing research, design and branding concepts, website development and maintenance , technical experience and website promotion: SEO , inbound marketing, newsletters, and social media strategy.
Stay away from the people claiming I will get you to the top of Google. There is no quick and easy, but there is professional knowledge and experience to build a website properly and an online strategy with longevity and quality.
Always ask for an outline of experience and portfolio of work.
Here is a outline of what we do.
Is it time for a “tune up?” Websites are a lot like cars; they require regularly scheduled maintenance to help keep you on the road to success! When you’re driving, the last thing you need is a flat tire and having a static website can have the same effect on your business as having a flat tire would on your car. Everything grinds to a halt. So think of this time of year as the ideal time to complete a Spring maintenance package on your website, guaranteeing you and your business ideal “driving” conditions all summer long.
Many website designers, myself included will use and recommend WordPress. That’s because it’s fairly user friendly. It’s kind of like buying a good, reliable, family friendly sedan. You can add a few “bells and whistles” but the base car is sound. The industry recognizes WordPress as by far the most used CMS (Content Management System) prompting the former head of Google’s Webspam team to say this: “sites built with WordPress are capable of ranking higher in search results.” WordPress is SEO friendly. Statistics show that better than 27% of the sites you find on the web are fuelled by WordPress, whether it’s a simple hobby blog or one owned by one of the biggest news sites online. That’s because WordPress is so versatile and easy to use – just like a car. Like a car however, WordPress is only as good as the fuel, oil and care you put into it and that’s why regularly scheduled maintenance for your website is SO important.
Your designer can build you something beautiful with WordPress but browser versions, security protocols and device software all change at lightening speed and you, as the owner, need to make sure your website accurately represents your business online at all times – so you need to stay on top of these changes to ensure your website isn’t static. Continually adding new and engaging content, blogging and adding pictures are part of what will help ensure your website stays fresh and top of mind. Think of your web designer as the mechanic who can help guide you when it comes to regularly scheduled maintenance, but, like a car, it’s your responsibility to get it to the mechanic in the first place or learn how to do “the basics” so you can perform the maintenance yourself. . *A word of cautionary advice here: Remember, if you are undertaking some of your own “do it yourself” repairs or maintenance you must always make a back-up first! Also check for plugin compatibility issues and for server resources (ie: php version) before you begin any updating! (1)
For example, just recently WordPress came out with 2 new security releases. Think of these like a “Recall Notice.” You are being warned that there could be a problem with your website. If you log in to your website you will find a message, in red, on your dashboard, just like the warning light to “check engine soon” might show up on your car dashboard. The message will guide you on how to take appropriate action and if you need help, your website designer (like any good mechanic) can help you address the issue. Likely there will be a fee involved. That’s the nature of business and whether you are buying a new car (website) or repairing an old one (updating your site) these things do cost money. Engaging in regularly scheduled maintenance however, helps to ensure your website not only lasts for many years but is also effective when it comes to driving your business in the right direction.
As one of the best Content Management Systems out there WordPress might put you on the road to success but maintenance is what keeps you there. Spring and Fall are both an ideal time for an overhaul. Ask your web designer for help. As for the rest of the year, log in, take a look around your site, see what’s new or needs repair and change things up a bit. WordPress is pretty user friendly and there’s really no reason you can’t pop in once in awhile, add content, blog or perform other small updates on your own. Your website designer will put you in the driver’s seat – it’s up to you to now take care of the regularly scheduled maintenance! (*see 1 above)
Written by Liz Skorski,
President, Skorski Web Design Inc.
As web designers and developers we work with hundreds of clients and companies. We develop based on the clients criteria and the variables are endless. With any web based project, the client owns the website. Therefore, it is the clients responsibility to keep a healthy website, this is just like your car. The maintenance is always the owners responsibility. Once and a while you need to take it to the mechanic. Since a website is an evolving representation of your business it is important to keep it healthy or you risk losing it.
WordPress came out with 2 security releases lately. Don’t rely on your web designer or development firm or even hosting company to let you know if your website needs updates. WordPress has warning lights, just like your car. Login to your website and check on the dashboard. It’s right there in red. A message will let you know how many updates are required. If you are unsure how to do them or how to take appropriate backups, prior to updating, check with your web designer. There may be a fee for time spent, just like a mechanic. The health of your website is your responsibility but be proactive, it’s so easy and usually completely automated process that should be painless. If taken care of properly, your website will last for many, many years and yield excellent marketing results.
I think that people get frustrated when they have a CMS system and assume they are now able manage the whole website. The idea of WordPress is to be a Content Management System, it means you get to add content (text, photos, blog posts, videos, pdf’s… etc) to help market your business. It does not mean you should assume you know everything about WordPress. Not, that some don’t because it is not rocket science. The majority of people should budget at least 2 maintenance updates with their web designer a year. Again like a car, I can drive one, but I can’t do the maintenance. This should be a firm budget line in any business. Go, login and check right now. Are their updates to be done?
Written by Liz Skorski,
President, Skorski Web Design Inc.
When you launch your website or apply new content, Google does not instantly index it, however it is not difficult.
Without indexing, Google will never show your content in its search results for keywords you that should get you found.
First of all check to see if Google has indexed your website. Open your browser and simply type in site:yourURL.com
and view what in the search engine database. If your site doesn’t show up, then that means it’s time to go to work getting Google’s attention.
Step 1: Have Your Website Ready With Content
To get Google to notice your site, you need to understand what it’s looking for.
In a lot of ways, Google is an online library that houses the most information in the world.
Like any library, it has to categorize the information it receives to keep everything in order and easy to find.
With that in mind, consider this:
What if a library receives a book with a great title and cover design only to open it and find that it was completely blank. What would they do?
Probably set it aside and keep it off the shelves because the book is utterly useless.
The same applies to Google.
If it comes to a website that has no content like pages or blog posts, then it’s not going to want to “put it on the shelves” so to speak. That’s why having content on your website should be your first step.
All of your pages and blog content should have unique, useful content available.
That way, when Google does crawl your site to index it, it will have a much better chance of sticking.
Step 2: Create and Submit a Sitemap
Once you have good content in your website, create an XML sitemap, sign up to Google Search Console and verify your site. Then submit the XML sitemap to the Google Search Console
Step 3: Start Sending Traffic to your Website
Even when it is not indexed yet, you can refer people to your blog and website through social media bookmarking, blog commenting, and recipricol linking.
Now that you’ve been sending traffic to your site, and you submitted your sitemap, go back to Google Search and try searching your URL again.
If your site is indexed by Google, then you’re good to go. If not, just keep at it and checking on it.
Original article as posted Sept 20/16 :How to Get Your WordPress Site Indexed By Google Quickly by Elegant Themes Blog
Take a look at your website and ask your self these questions….
- Does it appeal to your ideal demographic?
- Is it a user friendly experience (easy to search, easy to get to pages, easy to contact you)?
- Does it tell the viewer; What you do, who you do it for, where you do it, why they should deal with you? Remember you only have seconds to tell convey this!
- Does your website show your expertise in your industry?
- Is your brand consistent with all marketing material (logo, colours, fonts, tag line)?
- Is your website mobile responsive and does it have cross browser compatibility?
- Do you have a lead generation system in place? ie. newsletter sign up, contact form, free download…
- Have you incorporated social media follow and share links?
- Are you products/ services adequately explained?
- What do you want to be known for? Is it clear on your website?
These are some of the basic questions we discuss when we do a website consultation. We provide an SEO questionnaire to help us learn about your business.