Tag Archive for: wordpress

Ok, so you’ve chosen a domain, and a host and your website is up and running. Hopefully you chose a good host, see a separate post on why we think Cloudways.com is one of the best out there. Keep reading to find out our tips for getting the most speed from your website.

If you haven’t chosen a web host, then there’s still time to pick out the best to suit your wallet and website. Generally, when you’re starting out, a basic site will be fine. This is especially true if you’re starting a new blog or site that has no traffic yet. You’ll likely take time to build it up, so there’s not much point being on an advanced, speedy, expensive server with no traffic to serve. However, you’ll want to be able to transition to one if your web traffic does build up, so knowing how easily you can scale your website is going to be important to understand. 

So, how to tune up your site. Here’s some tips and reasons why you need to use them:

Use a good host, our tip is to use Cloudways.com – you can easily scale to a more powerful server, the account comes with free backups, has great customer support and you can site your server near to your users or customers, i.e., if your readers are in the US, then locate your server in New York.

Use a cache plugin, the one we use on this site is developed by Cloudways and is Breeze. It’s bundled with their hosting plan, and out of the box is a great way to speed up your site. Caches work by keeping close to hand all the files needed for the pages that are requested most often. A bit like a warehouse having their fastest selling products located next to the delivery pick up door. It helps on cutting down on the time it takes to serve files, including the html code, images, JavaScript and any other items that your pages are linking to, including PDF files, etc.

Similar to a cache is a CDN, or Content Delivery Network. Using the above example of the cache but extending it to a user in Tokyo looking at your website, which is hosted in London. The images and files would have to travel across the internet via a myriad way, getting stuck in bottlenecks along the way. All of this might take several seconds, by which time your user in Tokyo has given up waiting and moved on. By using a CDN, those images and files are stored closer to the user/customer, e.g., they might also be in Tokyo, or Shanghai, still closer to the user than having to come from London. Cloudways uses Cloudflare, one of the largest and fastest growing CDN networks in the world, with over 300+ offices located worldwide, there’s sure to be a server located close to your visitor. If that’s the case, then the files are supplied superfast, helping to keep your visitors glued to your website.

Having a powerful enough server – If your site is getting a lot of traffic, then you will have to consider moving to a better specified server, e.g., start out on a server with 1GB RAM, but with an increase in traffic, you’ll want to move to 2GB, 4GM or 8GB.

Get your imagery right – Ensure that you use the right sized images on your site. Don’t upload huge images and expect the site to load them quickly. Try to size them so that they are appropriate, i.e., a 500kb image is fine for the front page, but a 10mb image isn’t. Use Adobe Photoshop, or Adobe Express or Canva to prepare images correctly, but there are plugins or services available to compress your images to a much lower size. Be aware though that when you do this, you’ll generally lose the meta data that might be in your image file, and this may or may not be an issue for you. 

Use Cloudflare – Without labouring the point, Cloudways offers the Cloudflare Enterprise package to its users, which means for $5 per domain, you can get your site under the umbrella of Cloudflare and see your site get automatically supercharged. This is a seriously good reason to choose Cloudways hosting, as the regular price you’d have to pay for the Cloudflare Enterprise tier is in the thousands of dollars per month. You’ll also get a ton of side benefits, including lazy load images, images that resize on the fly, firewall policies that keep the bad guys and bots out, meaning that your site is focusing on delivering great content to your visitors, i.e., the visitors that you want to have on your site.

All the tips we’ve put here are powering this site. We regularly test the speed response via Cloudflare and it’s currently 98/100, which is about as fast as you can get. We started out with a free Cloudflare account, and then moved all our domains to it. We found that Cloudflare has some of the fastest DNS hosting out there, with Time To First Byte, and Page Loads in a fraction of the time other hosts take to respond. If you want to understand each of these points more, then contact us for more details.

A strong web presence is crucial for businesses in the digital age, as it serves as the focal point for brand visibility, getting customers, and growth. In today’s fast-paced, interconnected world, consumers increasingly rely on the internet for information, purchasing decisions, and seamless transactions. An effective web presence allows businesses to showcase their products and services, while simultaneously building relationships with customers, gaining trust and credibility. It also helps businesses tap into a global market, expanding their reach beyond geographical boundaries, thus increasing their potential for revenue generation. With the ubiquity of mobile devices and digital platforms, businesses that establish a strong online presence can successfully harness the power of the digital landscape, catering to the evolving needs and expectations of their target audience, and positioning themselves for long-term success.

Getting found on the Internet is what it’s all about. Here is a series of steps to help you start to get that presence. The list isn’t exhaustive, and there are a wide range of other steps you might want to take, some of which are dependent on the type of business you have and are looking to promote. But in a nutshell, not getting your new business indexed and ranked by Google, means that it’s going to be hard for your customers to find you.

Step 1

The following are a list of the steps to take to ensure that you get listed on Google, quickly. The list below is a starting point. There are many more steps including the listing of local directories, opening a Bing Webmasters account and more, but these are the most important and should be the top of your priority list.

  • Launch your website, we recommend a self-hosted WordPress as the best starting point – read why you shouldn’t rely on Instagram or WhatsApp alone to find and communicate with your customers.
  • Create a Gmail address – this will be used to sign up for the following Google services
  • Create a Google Analytics account, and add the tracking code to your website
  • Create a Google Search Console account and get your domain verified
  • Link both the above together through Google Marketing Platform.
  • If you are planning to advertise on Google, then you’ll need a Google Adwords account. Use the same Gmail address for this. Later you can link all these together through Google.
  • Your business needs to be found locally, so you’ll want to set up Google My Business
  • If you are selling online, then separately a Google Merchant account will help push images, prices and short descriptions of your products
  • Lastly, Google Tag Manager, is needed for more complex projects
  • Use an email service like MailChimp or SendinBlue.com to build your email list.

Step 2

Now that your site is listed and showing, and you’ve signed up to Google for all the above, it is time to get your Social Media accounts all linked together. Depending on what you’re business is, the most obvious is a Facebook Page and Instagram. If your business has a lot of video, then YouTube should be a priority. After Google, YouTube is the second biggest search engine. You’ll need to set up each with the same username across each. Instagram and Facebook Page should be linked, and to do this you’ll need to set up the Instagram account as a business profile. This is easy to switch to, from a personal account, and you can do this within the Instagram app. Now add all your new Social Media Channels to your website as links in the footer.

Step 3

Your new website is going to need regular posts and so you should be thinking of a calendar of posts that is sustainable throughout the year. Look for a minimum of 12 posts, but ideally for a new website, you would be posting once a week. A good post is 300-500 words, but at least monthly, a long form post would be a good suggestion. This post would be 1000-1500 words. In these posts would be your main keywords and details about the products or services you sell.

If you are not a writer, or find it difficult to take the time out to write, then this can be subbed out to an agency, but be prepared for costs and poorly written copy. Since, really no one will know your product or service as well as you do. Therefore, make use of tools like Grammarly, that can help you develop your writing and make it more readable and more engaging. There are AI tools our there to help you. Read our post about how Chat GPT can boost your website.

Step 4

You’ll need images to go with these new posts. Canva is the best tool out there to do that. You should aim to create multiple image sizes, one for Facebook and your blog and the other for Instagram. There are templates and tons of ideas, fonts and suggestions to help you get started. Images are a must on every post. With each post you write, you’ll have an image to go with it, and a post ready to go to your social channels.

Step 5

The next step is to focus on building your email list. You should have a sign up form on your website, which acts as a lead magnet. Visitors who like your posts are more likely to engage with you again, and having a sign up form enables them to easily sign up and stay in touch. MailChimp has simple templates that you can start out with and not worry about charges, since the first 2,000 users that sign up are free. MailChimp will start to charge fees once you go above this, but for starting out, MailChimp is a very good email software. But there are others out there, for example SendinBlue.com, which is what we use.

Step 6

Rinse and repeat. You will build a following if you regularly post stories about your business or industry and post these with interesting and eye-catching images. You will be emailing on a regular basis, i.e., monthly at the same date each month. You might have an email segment that has a more frequent email, e.g., a weekly email that goes out with each new post you write. You can see that having a schedule and sticking to it is really important. It’s all about getting your flywheel spinning, and once you’ve started to spin it, the key thing is to continue the momentum.

These are just some of the basic steps in setting up a website to promote your new business. We think the most important thing is to have your own website, which gives you the chance to promote your products or services in the best way possible. Giving you complete control of your brand. Talk to us today to see how we can help you get started.

Introduction

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when setting up your WordPress website is selecting the right theme. With thousands of themes available, both free and premium, it can be daunting to find the perfect one for your site. However, choosing the right theme is vital to ensure your website’s design, functionality, and compatibility align with your goals. In this article, we’ll discuss the various factors you should consider when selecting a WordPress theme for your website. Before you start, make sure that you’ve read the WordPress Beginners Guide for tips and tricks on starting on your blogging adventure!

1. Define Your Website’s Purpose and Goals

The first step in choosing the right theme is to define the purpose and goals of your website. You’ll need to know what type of site you’re planning on, and work out the type of messages and images that you want to publish. Consider whether your site will be a blog, a portfolio, an e-commerce store, or a combination of these. By understanding your website’s purpose, you can narrow down your theme options to those that best align with your goals. The theme that we’re using on this site is MonoChrome by StudioPress. We liked it because of the fast response, great customisations including the main images that helped us post articles on photography as well as marketing.

2. Focus on Design and Aesthetics

A visually appealing design is essential for any successful website. Look for a theme that matches your brand identity and target audience’s preferences. Consider factors such as colour schemes, typography, and layout when evaluating design options. Make sure the theme you choose is responsive and mobile-friendly, as an increasing number of users access websites through mobile devices.

3. Evaluate Functionality and Features

Different themes offer varying degrees of functionality and features. When selecting a theme, consider the features and tools you’ll need for your website. For example, if you’re running an e-commerce store, look for themes that include a built-in shopping cart, or that make use of the WooCommerce plugin. On the other hand, if you’re a photographer, consider themes with gallery and portfolio options. Some themes also offer pre-built page templates and drag-and-drop builders, making it easier for users with limited coding knowledge to customise their websites. Look at the themes from StudioPress.com for a wide range of portfolio sites and e-commerce sites that both offer numerous customisations.

4. Prioritise Performance and Speed

Website performance and speed play a significant role in user experience and search engine rankings. Ensure that your chosen theme is optimised for speed and performance by checking for features such as lazy loading, clean code, and browser caching support. Avoid themes with excessive plugins or bloated code, as these can slow down your website and negatively impact user experience. Read here for details on selecting a super fast web server.

5. Assess Compatibility and Updates

Choose a theme that is compatible with the latest version of WordPress and the most popular plugins. Additionally, ensure that the theme developer offers regular updates and support, as outdated themes can lead to security vulnerabilities and compatibility issues. Check user reviews and ratings to get a sense of the developer’s responsiveness and support quality.

6. Test the Theme Before Committing

Before finalising your decision, test the theme on a local development environment or staging site. This allows you to explore the theme’s features and functionality, ensuring that it meets your requirements and expectations. It’s also an opportunity to identify any compatibility issues or bugs before deploying the theme on your live website.

7. Don’t Forget About SEO

Ensure your chosen theme is optimised for search engine optimisation (SEO). Look for themes with clean and well-structured code, proper use of heading tags, and schema markup support. A well-optimised theme will help improve your website’s visibility in search engine results and drive more organic traffic to your site.

8. Consider Your Budget

While there are many free themes available, premium themes often offer more advanced features, better support, and regular updates. Set a budget for your theme and weigh the pros and cons of free and premium options. Remember that investing in a quality theme can save you time and effort in the long run, while also providing a better user experience for your visitors. Speed is one of the most important SEO factors and having a lean design that is hosted on a fast server is something you should budget for.

9. Read User Reviews and Testimonials

Before settling on a theme, read user reviews and testimonials to gain insight into the experiences of others who have used the theme. Look for feedback on design, functionality, performance, and support quality. Keep in mind that no theme is perfect, but a theme with a high number of positive reviews and satisfied users is a good indication of its quality and reliability.

10. Explore Theme Customisation Options

Customisation is an essential aspect of creating a unique and personalised website. When choosing a theme, evaluate the customisation options it offers, such as colour schemes, typography, layout options, and widget areas. Some themes provide advanced customisation options through their built-in theme options panel, while others rely on the WordPress Customiser or third-party plugins. Make sure the theme you choose offers sufficient customisation options to help you achieve your desired website design.

11. Check for Accessibility and Inclusivity

An inclusive and accessible website ensures that all users, including those with disabilities, can easily navigate and interact with your content. Look for themes that follow accessibility best practices, such as proper use of heading tags, sufficient colour contrast, keyboard navigation support, and semantic markup. Selecting an accessible theme not only benefits your users but also helps improve your website’s SEO and overall user experience.

12. Be Mindful of the Learning Curve

Lastly, consider the learning curve associated with customising and managing your chosen theme. Some themes come with a steeper learning curve due to their advanced features and customisation options. If you’re new to WordPress or have limited technical knowledge, opt for a theme that is user-friendly and easy to customise. On the other hand, if you’re experienced with WordPress or have coding skills, you may prefer a theme that offers more advanced features and customisation options.

Conclusion

Choosing the right WordPress theme for your website is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. By defining your website’s purpose and goals, focusing on design and aesthetics, evaluating functionality and features, and considering other essential aspects such as performance, compatibility, and SEO, you can select the perfect theme for your needs. Don’t forget that you can switch themes easily, so don’t get too hung up about having to stick with a particular theme if it isn’t working for you. With the right theme in place, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful and engaging online presence that resonates with your target audience.

Talk to us about your project, and how we can help get your WordPress site off the ground.

Since its beginning in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg, WordPress has grown into a secure, stable and user-friendly content management system (CMS), revolutionising how users create and manage websites without needing highly specialised skills. Keeping its signature simplicity and intuitive admin dashboard, WordPress now powers an incredible 40%+ of all websites on the internet. This versatile platform caters to more than blogs; significant corporations and media giants like CNN and The New York Times also rely on WordPress to power their online presence.

We remember first coming across WordPress right at the start, downloading version 1, and using it to power our first blogs. Now those blogs have come and gone, and we’ve tried and failed many more, We have always been drawn to using WordPress. The admin interface never changed; in a way, it doesn’t need to. New features appear, but the basic layout remains unchanged. This made it easier to learn and understand, as new versions would come along but stay the same. In the world of IT, not everything does this, and often, you’d have a completely new format to understand or get your head around.

Also, the wide range of themes that are now available helps make your site unique, and there is a large community of developers building new themes and plugins to make WordPress even more feature-filled and improved. Lastly, WordPress is open source, meaning you can see the source code, and if you have the skills, you can contribute and write new features that get included in updates.

At SiteDesigns.xyz, we use WordPress and a theme from StudioPress.com. We’ve used many themes over the last 20 years but stuck with StudioPress over the past 10+ years. Apart from having a wide range of themes that are easy to configure (they even have placeholder copy and images that help you visualise your new website), We’ve found their themes to be very stable. StudioPress themes come in 2 x parts: a Genesis theme, which functions as a parent theme, providing a secure, SEO-friendly, high-performance base for building child themes. StudioPress offers a collection of Genesis-compatible child themes, essentially the design layer on the Genesis framework. Think of it like this: it’s a car chassis, separating you from the car’s internal workings. The child theme you choose from StudioPress is like the colour scheme, seat fabrics, etc. But with this setup, you get a rock-solid site.

Today, we will lead you through setting up a WordPress site.

We’ve used WordPress for nearly 15 years to host our main website and use it for a host of others, including an internal Intranet. This beginner’s guide outlines the essential steps to launch your WordPress website, ensuring you make the most of this influential platform.

Step 1: Establish Your Online Identity with a Domain Name and Hosting Provider

Your domain name is the unique web address representing your brand online (e.g., www.yourbrand.com). Pair this with a hosting provider that offers reliable uptime, speed, security, and customer support, and you’ve got a winning combination. Top contenders include GoDaddy, Namecheap, Bluehost, HostGator, and SiteGround, but my preference is hosting from Cloudways Web Hosting, which offers low prices and great flexibility.

Step 2: Effortlessly Install WordPress

Once you’ve secured your domain name and hosting provider, it’s time to install WordPress. Many hosting providers offer one-click installations, streamlining the process. You can always manually download the software from the official website and follow their comprehensive guide if needed.

Step 3: Stand Out with a Striking Theme

Now that WordPress is installed choose a theme that fits your brand identity and captivates your target audience. With thousands of free and premium themes available, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect match. Explore your options by navigating to Appearance > Themes in the WordPress dashboard. To explore more themes, we suggest StudioPress.com and pick a theme from there.

Step 4: Customise Your Website to Perfection

Once you’ve chosen a theme, tailor your website to suit your unique vision with WordPress’s robust customisation system. Modify colours, fonts, layouts, and functionalities with ease. Access these settings by going to Appearance > Customise, where you can adjust headers, footers, sidebars, and more.

Step 5: Engage Your Audience with Compelling Content

With your personalised website ready, start creating captivating content to engage your audience. WordPress streamlines the process of crafting posts and pages and managing multimedia. To create new content, navigate to Posts > Add New or Pages > Add New in the WordPress dashboard. To get the most out of your site, you’ll need to write on a regular schedule, something that takes practice but is possible.

Conclusion

Though it may seem overwhelming initially, launching a WordPress website is straightforward with the proper guidance. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll have a customised, engaging website. With endless customisation and content management possibilities, your online success with WordPress is just a few clicks away.

Understanding the Risks of Solely Utilising Instagram and WhatsApp for Business Promotion

Living in a digital age, numerous businesses have pivoted to platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp as a medium to promote their offerings. However, exclusively relying on such platforms may open the door to substantial risks. For enduring business success, it is vital to maintain a diversified online footprint. This article delves into the potential hazards of relying solely on Instagram and WhatsApp for marketing and highlights the benefits of owning a business website.

The Pitfalls of Solely Depending on Instagram and WhatsApp for Business Marketing

  1. Lack of control over content and presentation: Platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp frequently update their algorithms, potentially affecting content visibility. Also, these platforms impose certain restrictions on post formats, hampering your brand expression and message communication.
  2. Dependence on third-party platforms: Promoting businesses on social media platforms entrusts them with your online presence, exposing your business to the risk of account suspension or termination and damaging your brand image. Moreover, data privacy issues emerge with reliance on these third-party platforms, which control data collection, storage, and sharing.
  3. Audience constraints: Social media channels only cater to some. Some potential customers might not be active on Instagram or WhatsApp, leading to a loss of potential clientele who prefer other online platforms or avoid social media.

The Perks of Owning a Business Website

  1. Absolute control over content and presentation: A business website grants the liberty to customise its design and branding, allowing you to choose the appropriate format and multimedia to display your offerings without adhering to Instagram or WhatsApp’s rules and guidelines.
  2. Enhanced credibility and professionalism: A business website with a custom domain name and branded email addresses increases credibility and customers’ confidence in your professionalism. Showcasing portfolios, case studies, and testimonials on your website further solidify your authority and dependability.
  3. Search engine optimisation (SEO): SEO benefits are a significant reason for having your website. By optimising your site, you can boost your visibility in search engine results and attract more customers who are looking for your products or services.
  4. Data ownership and control: Owning a website means having complete control over user data and analytics, which can guide your marketing decisions and help tailor your content to your audience’s preferences.
  5. E-commerce functionalities: A business website enables direct selling to customers through integrated e-commerce solutions, creating a smooth shopping experience by offering various payment methods and shipping options.
  6. Enhanced customer support and communication: A business website offers multiple channels for customer interaction, such as live chat, contact forms, and email support. Hosting FAQs and knowledge base articles can address frequent customer queries, saving time for both parties.
  7. Accessibility and inclusivity: Ensuring your website complies with web accessibility guidelines allows you to cater to a wider audience, including individuals with disabilities. This not only fosters inclusivity but also broadens your potential customer base.

The Worthwhile Effort of Building a Business Website

A business website is an invaluable resource in our increasingly digital world. While Instagram and WhatsApp can be practical promotional tools, diversifying your online footprint and investing in a website offers greater control, credibility, and accessibility. Developing a professional and user-friendly website can boost your brand’s online presence and improve customer service, ensuring long-term success. Buying a website that embodies your brand and links to your branded email will pay off in the long run.