First thing’s first: Always make sure you’re tinkering with your plugins on a STAGING environment. If you’re not familiar with STAGING environments or don’t have a STAGING website set up, I recommend setting up one before installing, activating, or configuring any plugins. If you are unable to set up a STAGING site, at the very least make sure to do a backup.
Smush Image Compression and Optimization is one of the most popular image compression plugins on the market. With over one million active installs, Smush provides a one-stop shop for all your image optimization needs. You can “smush” previously uploaded photos and enable auto-compression for new uploads. The developers behind Smush now offer a supplemental plugin called Hummingbird that’s worth a peek.
WP Fastest Cache
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Although this plugin isn’t specifically an optimization plugin, Google Analytics Dashboard for WP displays important site metrics like Page Views and Bounce Rates in the WordPress Admin Dashboard. This data can be used to make changes to the website including security and optimization enhancements. You will need to have an active Google Analytics account to use this plugin.
WP Hide & Security Enhancer
WordPress is used by more than 20% of all sites on the web. Yes, you read that right. Because of this, WordPress sites are commonly targeted in malicious attacks. Thankfully, plugins like this one offer a security level not provided by most web hosts or developers. WP Hide & Security Enhancer “hides” WordPress-identifiable code in your frontend source files and redirects your login pages so WordPress hackers and bots are thrown off.
Yoast SEO isn’t your average optimization plugin. With Yoast SEO you can track your web page’s readability and search engine scores. The plugin offers tips and tricks to optimize your web pages, provides downloadable reports, and includes an integrated user experience that any WordPress user will feel comfortable using.
Jetpack comes recommended by WordPress itself. That’s because the organization behind WordPress, Automattic, is the developer behind this robust WordPress optimization plugin. Using Jetpack you can find important starts including page views, track related posts, view search engine scores, set up social sharing, back up your site files, and secure your site. Whew… that was a lot!
One of the best things you can do to optimize your WordPress site is making sure it’s always safe and secure. There is perhaps no better WordPress plugin that exists, which addresses site security as efficiently as Sucuri Security by Sucuri Inc. Key features include Security Activity Auditing, File Integrity Monitoring, Remote Malware Scanning, Blacklist Monitoring, and more. With the Premium version, you can even set up a website firewall.
Today, you can use WordPress to do pretty much anything. It’s a force to be reckoned with and programmers who haven’t already caught on will do well to learn about it.
What Is Gutenberg
While WordPress is the underlying framework (software platform) that powers sites, Gutenberg is the new Page Editor that website designers use to publish blogs, post content, and make changes to their websites. And it’s now the default Administrator user interface for WordPress.
Gutenberg is a fresh take on the old way of doing things. It’s a block-based grid editor that makes publishing rich content to your WordPress website simpler than ever. For some, it will feel familiar. For others, it will feel unfamiliar and may take some time to get used to.
In any case, it’s always a good idea to set up a STAGING or DEVELOPMENT site to try out the new Page Editor. When you feel comfortable and perform necessary regression testing, you can push the site LIVE.
Why Does All Thi Matter?
At Site Assembly, it’s in our mantra to “Always Evolve”. To us, that means always learning new ways to tackle new problems in this ever-changing world. WordPress 5.0 is one of those “new solutions” to a problem some people didn’t even know they had.
It matters because it’s going to impact any business that has a WordPress website, any developer who makes a living from WordPress, and any agency that operates WordPress endpoints. It matters because regardless of whether we like it or not, it’s coming in less than 24 hours, and it’s going to change the way we build and manage WordPress websites for years to come.
If you include text in your cover photo, make sure it’s crucial to the action you want your Page visitors to take. For instance, if your call-to-action is Call Now, including text in your cover photo that says, “We’re open 24/7” adds value to your graphic and builds upon your C2A.
World-famous country music star and long-standing judge of NBC’s hit show The Voice, Blake Shelton promotes his new album in his Cover Photo. https://bit.ly/2zUfwoF
Oerlemans’ Foods is a natural food products distributor operating worldwide and has a beautiful image of their farms as their Cover Photo. Here’s the direct link: https://bit.ly/2L0MI6H
The Honest Company
This skincare product line started by actress Jessica Alba created a custom collage as their Cover Photo. The brand does exceptionally well at showcasing their products with the limited space Facebook provides. https://bit.ly/2tJJrMm
Notice how these cover photos are easy to understand, catch your eyes quickly, and include very limited text if any. The reason these cover photos are so engaging is that they follow the rules outlined in this article and they’ve mastered the use of cover photos as a tool to build their brands and boost engagement
Now, let’s talk about your Profile Picture.
You know that small, square photo you see next to the name of a person or business you search for on Facebook? Or, what about that circular image you see next to a person or business’s name when viewing posts in your timeline? That is your Profile Picture.
When optimizing your Facebook Business Page, your Profile Picture is what users see when they search for your business or see ads or posts from your business. It’s perhaps the single-most important photo for your Business Page since it’s seen so often throughout various user experiences on Facebook.
Naturally, many businesses choose to add their logos here. Others, like influencers, bloggers, and coaches, may choose to add their headshots. Either way, the space is extremely limited and requires you to upload a square image.
Let’s take a look at some examples of what top brands are using as their Profile Pictures.
The ubiquitous Coca-Cola brand has their signature white logo atop the famous red background set as their Page’s Profile Picture. https://bit.ly/2avAmCA
Renowned Social Media Influencer and Pro Marketer, Gary Vaynerchuck is known for his vibrant and oftentimes curse-laden talking style—telling people like it is with no filter. His Profile Picture is a great representation of his loud and in-your-face brand. https://bit.ly/2rpam2e
Patagonia, a multinational outdoors clothing and accessories brand, has their well-known serif logo pasted against a custom background graphic that helps it stand out against the natural cover photo they chose. https://bit.ly/2NVo5pY
Reviews are extremely important when optimizing your Facebook Business Page.
Since Facebook is used as a network to find not only people, but businesses as well, Reviews are a surefire way to solidify your expertise and uphold your reputation as a brand.
Without Reviews, potential customers or followers may not take you seriously or may even refuse to do business with you if you lack Facebook Reviews.
Think about it. If you’ve used Review Engines like Yelp to find a restaurant or Home Advisor to find quality service providers, you understand the impact a review has on your decision to choose who you do business with.
Facebook Reviews are no different. In fact, a Forbes article once stated that nearly “70% of consumers are more likely to use a local business with positive reviews.” A 2015 DigitasLBi Connected Commerce study found that” Facebook influences 52% of our online and offline purchases.” That’s a HUGE number, and it’s only growing!
So, if you have no Facebook Reviews or would like to boost your positive reviews, start by connecting with your most loyal customers. Tell them you’d appreciate if they left an honest review on your Facebook Page. You can even send them a direct link so they have little responsibility. Or, send them a personal message through Messenger inviting them to leave a review and like your Page.
Whatever you do, don’t let your Facebook Reviews become a forgotten land. Use them to promote your brand. Showcase them in your posts. And most importantly, have them!
All the top brands have plenty of Facebook Reviews to back their claims and brands. Surely, you should, too.
If you sell shippable products to consumers, Facebook Shop is something you’ll want to learn quickly.
Through Facebook’s Shop functionality, Business Pages can upload their products for sale directly on their Facebook Page. So now, you don’t have to send users to your website if you don’t want to.
The benefit of uploading your products to Facebook is that you can track product sales directly through your Page Dashboard, as well as cut out extra steps of sending users to your web page.
You can choose to upload your entire catalog, showcase new products, or promote limited-time products through your Facebook Shop.
To set up your Shop, select your Business Page, and then click Shop.
If you haven’t configured your business page properly, you’ll have to complete a few steps first. No worries, these are pretty easy steps and you can get started by clicking Set Up Shop.
After your Shop is set up, you can add products to your Shop via Manage Shop.
Next week, we’ll dive further into optimizing your Facebook Shop and how selling products directly through your FB Shop can benefit your business. We’ll also talk about other elements of optimizing your Facebook Business Page, including adding great photos, creating engaging posts, utilizing LIVE videos for marketing, and how to write a killer About description.
Until then, onward and upward, my friends! —
If you like what you read, let’s start a conversation! Share this article on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
If you’re a small business with a niche customer base and a hyper-focused product or service, a mobile app may be a good, supplementary fit for your responsive website. Notice, though, how I said supplementary. If you own a painting company and your goal is to make it super easy for your existing and future customers to get free estimates, instantly, then developing a free mobile app may be the answer. Or, if you’re a delivery-based company who needs to keep track of your drivers and gauge completed deliveries, creating a mobile app may be a good fit.
Mobile Apps aren’t all they’re chalked up to be. One thing many app agencies have done well is to make developing a mobile app for your business appear as if it’s the only good option. It’s a lie! Don’t fall for it. You can, and should seriously consider, the benefits of going responsive rather than developing a custom, mobile app. And if you’re thinking about paying a few hundred bucks for one of those App Builders, do not even think about it!
Unless you fall into a small category of businesses that truly cannot achieve their desired functionality, optimally, through a responsive website, then exploring the feasibility of developing a mobile app may be the way to go. Otherwise, it’s likely that your best bet to convert site visitors into customers and market your business is to go responsive.
Pros of Building A Responsive Website
A well-designed, responsive website should act similarly to a mobile app when visited by a user. What I mean by that is, if I am an artist who wants to showcase my artwork and provide a platform for other artists to showcase their artwork, a proper responsive website, when viewed on a mobile device, has the ability to act and feel like a mobile app. Logins and signups, commenting, and “liking” are all features that can be seamlessly integrated into a website and optimized for a mobile experience.
While you may only be able to access a website by entering the URL into the browser bar, or, saving the site to your Home screen, the overall experience will be similar to that of a mobile app, once you arrive on the site.
Features from a Desktop version of the same website may have more user features or larger design elements, while the mobile-responsive version may appear “stripped down” with fewer features and more whitespace. The point here is, if you hire a good design team like you’ll get at Site Assembly, accomplishing an optimized mobile experience by way of responsive web design, rather than mobile app development, is not only possible, it’s expected.
While there are truly endless possibilities for designing a responsive business website, there are certain use cases that call for the development of a mobile app. Games, GPS-based apps, and mobile-first social networks are a few examples. Otherwise, it’s probably in your best interest to consider the benefits of a responsive website. Responsive websites have the ability to look good on desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile screens simultaneously. Whereas, mobile apps are typically developed natively, or, for one, particular platform.
If this article helped you feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To sign up for an account and get help with your website, click here.
I mean, even Google Sites are more vulnerable to attacks than websites built on WordPress. But, that doesn’t mean it’s all clear to sail. There are definitely steps you and your website manager must take to ensure your website is safe and secure.
Alright, enough background music, let’s get to the bread and butter. What can we really do to protect your WordPress website from attacks? I’m so glad you allowed me to ask.
These days, https encryption is essentiallymandatory if you want to rank well in Google Search. It’s also one of the best ways to protect your WordPress website against attacks. At Site Assembly, it’s now a requirement.
Setting up an SSL certificate requires a bit of expertise. We like to work with globally recognizable security brands such as Comodo and Symantec who offer Site Seals that act as “verification” that your website is protected. Think ADT signs for homes.
From a technical standpoint, SSL certificates work by encrypting user data collected and shared on your website. This includes back-end administrator data as well as front-end data collection such as user forms and newsletter signups. As long as the certificate is set up correctly, this will be a big improvement in protecting your website.
Updating and managing your plugins are two of the easiest ways to protect your website against attacks. Many times, vulnerabilities found within these plugins are fixed and released for updating. If you’re still using a particular plugin and it has an update available, do it! Be sure to check the update warnings to ensure you won’t lose any data or customization.
You can access your plugins by clicking on the “Plugins” menu option in your Administrator panel. You’ll find a list of all your installed plugins along with notifications if updates are available. You should also uninstall plugins you’re no longer using.
Password Secure WordPress Website
I’m sorry it came down to this, but, it’s still a huge concern. So many people know it’s important to choose a strong password, but not many actually put it into practice. I cannot emphasize this point enough! Choosing a hard-to-guess password is a must these days! There are tools out there to generate strong passwords, and thankfully, we’re even expert password recommenders ourselves.
Here are a few pointers on choosing a strong password:
Use sentences combined with special characters instead of single words and numbers. A password such as IknowYouWantTo_but_GoodluckGuessingThis1! is a lot harder to guess programmatically than Password123 or your birthday. Get creative and have some fun with it.
Use secured password generators. This one’s not as fun as coming up with cool sentences, but it is just as effective in protecting your website from attacks. We’re biased as to which password generator we prefer, so we’ll let you decide. There are plenty to choose from.
If you haven’t heard of it before, SuperAuth is an amazing platform to help you “go passwordless.” This unique software works by removing the need for usernames and passwords altogether and instead offers a single sign-on and automatic two-factor authentication option for your users. You can download and integrate SuperAuth Passwordless Authentication here.
If your website is built with WordPress, you’ve come to the right place! If your website is not built with WordPress, then you’re missing out on instant scalability and endless customization, among many other benefits.
All of these plugins are, in our experience, necessary if you’re serious about boosting your Google search engine rankings. You will need at least some level of experience working with WordPress to get the most use out of this article. Now, let’s get started!
If you don’t know how your website is performing in terms of site visitors and engagement then you’ll never know how to improve it. This popular plugin displays a snapshot of your website’s analytics right in your WordPress Dashboard. It shows real-time site visitors and acquisition channels, as well as sessions, page views, bounce rates and other important analytics. If you don’t already have it installed, head here to get started!
Yoast is a powerful tool you can use to custom-tailor, track and optimize your website’s content quite easily. It offers insight into how you can reword your blog posts to attract more visitors, checks for grammar, tells you what you’re missing from your posts, and even creates instant XML site maps. With this plugin, you can integrate your social media accounts directly into your website for simplified cross-marketing. Whether you’re a WordPress beginner or an expert, this is one plugin you won’t want to pass on.
This simple WordPress plugin does one thing, and one thing only: It adds a checkbox popup to your Posts and Pages so you can insert the rel=“nofollow” HTML tag to your Posts and Page links. Adding this HTML tag informs search engines that the attributed link should have no impact on your search rankings. For more information as to why this technique is important for your SEO, see Google’s reference on the topic here.
Did you know that having underscores ( _ ) or spaces in your image titles can negatively impact your search rankings? If you’re serious about optimizing all of your website’s content for search engines, making sure your images are search engine-friendly is a big part of that. Thankfully, there’s an awesome WordPress plugin to help. This plugin automatically normalizes your image’s alt and title attributes, then checks for improper file names for instant optimization.
Improving your website’s performance and load time has a direct impact on boosting its Google search rankings. This plugin, “will remove query strings from static resources like CSS & JS files” which, in turn, helps to improve your website’s overall speed and load time considerably. This is known to have a huge impact on your website’s overall performance and search engine rankings.
Although search engine optimization (SEO) is an ongoing effort that includes a lot of moving parts, installing and utilizing these five WordPress plugins will undoubtedly help to boost your website’s search engine rankings in Google. Even if you’re a WordPress novice, installing these plugins is fairly simple. But, be careful because incorrectly setting up or misconfiguring these plugins can have a pretty bad effect on your website. In our opinion, it’s always best to consult with your web site manager before installing any new software.
Google’s Keyword Planner allows you to search local keywords, as well as industry-specific keywords to plan your on-site SEO strategy. However, search engine optimization is a moving target. What works today may or may not work tomorrow. Knowing this, we like to perform regular keyword searches to ensure the most effective keywords are being used.
ABA: ‘Always Be Adding’ (New and Relevant Content)
One of the many tasks we execute on a daily basis is something we like to call ABA. It stands for Always Be Adding, and refers to the act of regularly adding new content to your website, including text and graphics. After all, Google loves content! The more relevant content that’s featured on your website, the better you’ll rank. But, we’re very careful with the sort of content we add. Adding false, inaccurate or irrelevant information to your website can have a negative impact on your search rankings.
Wrapping Things Up
So, there you have it: You’ve now learned three ways to help optimize your website for Google Search. Your next step would be to consult with your website manager to develop a customized on-site SEO strategy. If you haven’t hired your own website manager, or are unsatisfied by your current website manager, contact us. We’re ready and happy to help!
Blogging Is One of the Best Ways To Boost Your Search Rankings
At Site Assembly, we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again… and again… and again: If you’re not blogging, you’re missing out. You’re missing out on more website visitors, potential sales, and even increasing awareness about your brand. Blogging about topics that are relevant to your business is one of the best ways you can connect with your website visitors and boost your credibility as a small business. There are things to keep in mind when blogging to boost your search rankings, which is a topic for another day.
Social Media Optimization Goes Hand-In-Hand With SEO
Although interacting on social media may seem like a separate issue entirely, it’s really not. How active your small business is on social media usually directly corresponds with your search rankings. This may be because socially active businesses tend to have the largest followings, however, data certainly shows that search engines like it when your website is supplemented by active social media accounts, Google’s favorite being Google+. Not only is this a reason to make sure you’re on social media, but it’s also a great way to run promotions for your business, or post links to your blogs and websites—which, in turn, boosts your click-throughs.
So, as you can see, there is quite a lot that actually goes in to “SEO”. The term itself has become a buzzword of sorts that many people think they understand, but really have the slightest idea about. So, when you ask whether or not SEO is included in one of our Site Plans, be ready for the lengthy answer. Just remember: We’re doing it because we love our customers and want them to thrive online.
In December of 2014, Gil Press, an author and contributor at Forbes Magazine, predicted that Big Data would reach $125 Billion by the end of 2015. I’d be ignorant to suggest that the data we’re collecting on such massive scales isn’t beyond useful to say the least. Nor would it be beneficial to anyone for me to suggest that data isn’t extremely helpful in the curation and execution of better user experiences, and in making better design decisions. The point I am trying to make, however, is that it’s okay to mix a bit of that data collection with your own intuition in order to build unique user experiences and help push design forward.
So, as we approach this holiday season, why not give yourself the gift of using more of your own expertise and less of that stuff called data. Help yourself to a healthy serving of experimentation and don’t feel bad about it. Discover new things and build new experiences without boundaries. You may be surprised to discover that when you do, more forward-thinking processes are created.
How will potential customers engage with your business online?
This sort of falls in line with the first couple points, but also expands on them. Creating a strategy where your potential and existing customers can interact with you and your business is vital to creating a strong client base who will return many times in the future. Making it as seamless and easy for them to interact with your business is key to your online success. Some ways you can do this would be, integrating a Live Chat service in to your website, maintaining a strong social media presence, responding to online reviews quickly and sufficiently, or writing detailed blog posts aimed at increasing online interactions.
What is your budget?
Let’s not forget about the almighty budget: The dictator over all financial decisions, small or large. Whether your budget is $1,000 or $10,000, determining how best to spend your dollars, and how to maximize your ROI, is of utmost importance. Before you start building your online presence, your budget should be clearly defined and your intended goals set. Once you’ve got that much figured out, the rest will come much easier.
Mailchimp and Constant Contact are two of the most widely-adopted email management platforms on the web. However, it doesn’t matter which email management software you choose, only that you use one. Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer clean, easy-to-navigate user interfaces, as well as built-in email template generators and email tracking features. Mailchimp’s free plan provides more than enough functionality to run email promotions, collect customer information, send out weekly newsletters, and track important analytics.
Live Chat Integration
Today, the philosophical concept of “customer service” has more-or-less transformed into “client concierge”. i.e. Instead of having a single point-of-contact for your customers to reach you, it’s now important to have and maintain several at a time. One way you can expand your customer service experience is by integrating a simple live chat service in to your website. By doing so, you can communicate with potential customers, generate new sales, track online conversions and garner valuable feedback. Both Live Chat and ClickDesk—among others—provide a free, basic plan to get started.
WordPress (for blogging)
Here at Site Assembly, we’ve used dozens of publishing platforms and content management systems (CMS) to manage our client’s publications. Still, many business owners do not understand the benefits of blogging. If you’re a small- or medium-sized business and you’re not blogging, it’s time to start! Out of the hundreds of platforms that allow you to blog without a huge learning curve, we feel WordPress is the best! WordPress is always free, easy to setup, and has a seemingly endless network of online resources to connect with other bloggers, find relevant answers, purchase additional extensions, and watch tutorials.
Facebook Business Pages
Social networking is a tired term, but one that certainly hasn’t lost it’s meaning. As a business owner, it’s your job to connect with your fans and clients, and engage with them in new and creative ways. Thankfully, the world’s largest social networking platform offers a simple way to do just that. By setting up a Facebook Business Page you can connect with your fans and followers, run promotions, boost your online presence and keep your clients talking. Setting up a Business Page on Facebook is super simple and only takes a couple of minutes to get started!
At Site Assembly, we integrate Google Analytics into every web page for each website we build. Why? Because it’s necessary to understand how your site visitors are using and interacting with your website, and what can be done to optimize their site experience. Google Analytics offers an inside glimpse into important website-related data such as page hits, site visits, demographical information, and other important statistics that can help business owners decide if new features should be implemented, and how to get more visitors to their website.