• Top WordPress Optimization Plugins To Kill It In 2019

    There are over 55,000 plugins in the WordPress directory. That’s enough to make anyone a little nauseous. A quick search for optimization plugins in WordPress’s official plugin marketplace results in over 130 pages of plugins. Thankfully, we’ve used all the best plugins on our Managed Sites, and as a result, we can recommend what we consider to be the top seven optimization plugins every WordPress site needs to kill it in 2019.

    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

    WP Fastest Cache may be the most comprehensive caching plugin in the WordPress directory. Using this robust and easy-to-use plugin, you can enable page compression, minify site files, and defer JavaScript out-of-the-box. With the premium version, you can clear your database cache, clear your CSS file cache, and even access CDN servers for content-heavy sites.

    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

    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!

    Sucuri Security

    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.

  • WordPress 5.0 Is Here. And So Is Gutenberg. Deal With It.

    In less than 24 hours, one of the most anticipated software releases of the past two decades will take place. On December 6, 2018, WordPress 5.0 will be released in all of its glory (and blunder). Assuming everything goes well, Matt Mullenweg, Founder of Automattic, the parent company that owns WordPress.org and WordPress.com, says that the new release will be available for update.

    As with any new software releases, there will always be pushback from members of the community. It seems to be split right down the middle. Half of the WordPress developers I’ve spoke to seem to be in favor of the new release; the other half is all but protesting it. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, the new release symbolizes an evolutionary age where new opportunities will arise and chaos will ensue.

    But before we panic, let’s break things down a little.

    What Is WordPress?

    While it originally began as a simple blogging platform, WordPress is now the largest content management system (CMS) in the world. Powered by more than 20% of all websites currently on the web, the popular CMS provides developers with a framework to build full-scale websites including e-commerce stores and news sites. Today, some of the most visited websites on the web use WordPress to power their sites. BBC America, TechCrunch, and Mercedez-Benz all use the CMS on their sites. You know it’s legit when Sweden uses WordPress to power its official website!

    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.



  • Tips for Optimizing Your Facebook Business Page In 10 Minutes Or Less


    In this first-of-two-part series, we’re going to learn about the fundamentals of optimizing your Facebook Business Page. From choosing the perfect cover photo to writing a killer About section, we’ll cover all the major bases and make sure you have the knowledge needed to start killing it on Facebook!

    Cover Photo

    When optimizing your Facebook Business Page, your cover photo is especially important. Think of your cover photo as a digital billboard that gives you the opportunity to show your Page visitors what your business is all about. Imagine drivers traveling 65 miles per hour down the interstate. The advertiser, you, has only a few moments to capture the attention of the passersby. If your billboard is wordy, washed out, or irrelevant to your message, drivers will pass it by without hesitating.

    Your cover photo is the same. It’s seen the first thing visitors will see when they land on your Page. If your cover photo is wordy, irrelevant, difficult to understand, then your Page visitors will pass onto the next business within 5 seconds or less.

    So, how do you grab the attention of your Page Visitors and ensure you’re delivering the best content possible within the limited space you have?

    Some ways to optimize your cover photo include:

    1. Using bright-colored backgrounds and bold text to liven up your branding
    2. Using custom graphics and high-quality images to showcase your top products
    3. Using Videos and GIFs to bring your message to life

    It’s important to note that your cover photo should follow Facebook’s Cover Photo Dimension guidelines, which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/CoverPhotoSize/

    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.

    Blake Shelton

    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

    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.

    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.

    Check out Facebook’s Cover Photo and Profile Picture Dimension guidelines for information on how to size your Profile Picture.

    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

    Gary Vaynerchuck

    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.

    Facebook Shop

    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.

  • Responsive Websites vs. Mobile Apps: What’s Right For My Business?

    When it comes time to decide what sort of technology strategy is right for your business, one of the questions many people get stuck on is: Should I build a responsive website or invest in a mobile app? Having worked as a Project Manager for a prominent mobile app developer, and now working as the Senior Product Designer at Site Assembly, I am in the unique position to share the pros and cons of each approach to help you decide the right path to take for your business.

    Mobile App Development


    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 daniel@siteassembly.com. To sign up for an account and get help with your website, click here.

  • Have You Fallen Victim To the Dreaded Basement Web Professional?

    Tampa, FL — As an avid supporter of small businesses and freelance professionals, I’ll be the first to admit that there are plenty of qualified and respectable web professionals who also work out of their basements. I am not referring to those rightfully declared web professionals. In fact, I even occasionally work out of such spaces myself.

    Instead, I’m referring to the self-described but blatantly under-qualified “basement professionals”. They can be generally defined as, “hired professionals who overpromise but under-deliver, or who do not provide a working product or service to a paying client.”

    Chances are if you run a business, you’ve had the unpleasant opportunity of working with someone who fits this description in some way.

    This may include people who say things like, “Sure, I can build you a website”, but it takes them three months to launch a half-working website that does nothing to help your business. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t bring in leads, and it doesn’t make you money. It’s just a big waste of time that leaves you with an even bigger hole in your pocket.

    Friends & Family

    This could also include your friends and family members who, no offense, but, have no business attempting to build and manage your online presence. Again, this may not be everyone. It’s important for you to decipher between hiring someone only because they are a friend or family member, versus hiring someone because they’re qualified and have a proven track record.

    Non-Technical Business Owners

    As a business owner, I totally get that it’s in your nature to take things into your own hands. But, it’s also your responsibility to make smart business decisions. So, unless you have a background in building and managing websites, chances are, it would be more productive for you to allow a qualified web professional to handle all your web needs.

    Many business owners also use popular DIY site builders which is not a proper web strategy. You can’t expect to get a bunch of new website leads when it’s built with some drag-and-drop site builder and you put no additional effort into growing your web presence. That’s like expecting your business to become successful without anyone knowing it even exists. I digress.

    Cheap Pricing

    It’s probably also not a good idea to hire a web professional based solely on cheap pricing. Okay, it’s definitely not a good idea. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, if you’re paying under market value for web-based services or products, there’s a good chance that corners will be cut, skills will be missed, and money will be wasted.

    While on the surface, these types of lowballing service providers seem to deliver good products and services, when you take a look under the hood, it gets quite messy. Plus, many times when you hire a cheap web professional, communication is lackluster and developing a strong web strategy is still up to you, the business owner.

    The only way to really fix this is to find and hire web experts who have a track record of delivering great services and products and helping businesses grow their online presence. At Site Assembly, we’ve worked with hundreds of businesses to build and manage their online presences, including designing secure and responsive websites, launching and managing social media strategies, optimizing search engine rankings (SEO), and developing high-converting search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns.

    But, don’t take our word for it. You can try us out for yourself, risk-free for 14 days. By then, you’ll never want to go back to another under-qualified, sometimes sketchy, basement professional. We’ll even help you navigate the break up if you need us to. Don’t worry, we don’t rustle feathers. Jeez, we’re all professionals here. 😉

  • To Build A Better Product, Get To Know Your Users

    Get to know your users. It’s a simple statement, really, but a powerful concept. One that we at Site Assembly — and those of us in the web design industry as a whole — have given a name. It’s called user experience design (or UX design) and it’s just a fancy name given to a really simple concept, which basically refers to designing your products and websites around your users.

    In everyday life, user experience design can include designing a sidewalk more efficiently so pedestrians can cut through a park rather than walk around it. Here at Site Assembly, user experience design refers to designing websites around specific use cases and calls-to-action. We understand and implement these practices on a daily basis. But, it’s something that I think we should talk about more openly.

    Especially if your goal is to convert website users into followers, subscribers, and customers.

    This is nothing new, really. Most of the world’s biggest brands, including Coca-Cola, Apple, and Uber, spend millions of dollars on user testing and product research to develop and improve their products.

    At Site Assembly, we have the unique advantage of working with a wide range of clients. From local mom and pop shops to some of the world’s biggest brands, the idea is the same: If you want to convert website visitors into customers, you’ve got to show them exactly what they came to find as quickly as possible.

    Through a combination of consultancy engagements, research analyses, and data collection, our Site Experts are able to take the time to learn about you and your brand in order to build a more user-driven website.

    But, why would you want to build a better user experience?

    If I haven’t already answered that question, the real answer is even more obvious: Because you should. You’re in business to make money, right. You wouldn’t invest in something that you knew wouldn’t, in some way, benefit your business or add to your bottom line. Well, that’s the sort of thought and research you and your web managers need to put into building your website.

    If you understand the steps to take, the journey becomes much less frightening; and the reward far greater. I promise.

    If you need help navigating this blog, let’s get in touch: daniel@siteassembly.com.

  • What If Managing Your Website Was As Easy As Ordering A Pizza?

    TAMPA, FL — Last night, I ordered a pepperoni pizza from one of my favorite pizza restaurants. Needless to say, it was delicious. But it’s not the pizza that takes the proverbial cake here: It’s the online ordering process. I had opened an account with this particular pizza place a few weeks back, so all I had to do was log in, choose the pizza I wanted, and click a single button to pay. That was it. It was like magic.

    Within minutes, my pizza had arrived at my doorstep and I was happily indulging in one of America’s favorite Friday night meals.

    What if managing your website could be that simple? What if, when you needed some images updated on your website, all you had to do was log in to submit your order? Soon after, your personal Site Expert would deliver gooey, website goodness, right to your virtual doorstep.

    Sounds crazy, right!?

    Well, it’s not. In fact, Site Assembly has been perfecting the automation of website management for over two years now — constantly finding new ways to make managing your websites easier and more affordable.

    In a few weeks, we’ll be releasing our new, user-friendly website management platform called Frontdoor, a nod to how simple it is now to order a pizza online, while also symbolizing how we are able to deliver quality work right to your virtual front door!

    Site Assembly’s Frontdoor platform gives you the tools and insights you need to make smart website decisions. Just sign up for an account and “plug in” to your website to enjoy real-time Analytics, page speed reports, mobile-friendly scores, site recommendations, and more.

    Need something updated on your website? Just submit a ticket and sit back as our Site Experts handle your request.

    Stay tuned for next week’s blog for an inside glimpse into our new platform.

  • Is WordPress Really Insecure? Answer: No

    Recently, I sat down with a potential client to discuss future plans for their new website. I went through my presentation discussing what we do and how we can help them get the website they envisioned. After learning about their needs, I recommended using WordPress for easier scalability and greater flexibility. The first thing they asked after I had mentioned WordPress was, “but, isn’t WordPress insecure?”

    While it’s true that WordPress has gotten a bad wrap for being “insecure”, that connotation is simply inviable. It’s like blaming the chicken for the egg’s poor decision-making. However, after hearing this concern from more than one of our clients, I realized that this was a more widespread misconception than I had previously thought. So, as any reasonable person would do, I decided to write a blog about it.

    Look, I realize I’m going to receive some pushback on my statements here, so before I go any further, let’s just clear some things up.


    1. WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on the planet.
    2. As with any widely-popular technology, it’s an equally popular target for attack.
    3. Websites using WordPress are only as secure as they are built to be.
    4. The more steps you take to protect your website against attacks, the more secure “WordPress” is.


    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.

    SSL Certificates

    These days, https encryption is essentially mandatory 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.

    Plugin Management

    secure-wordpress-websiteUpdating 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.

    SuperAuth Integration

    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.

  • 5 Free SEO WordPress Plugins Every Website Needs

    Search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is a huge factor in running a successful website. Without incoming traffic or new page visits, your website will quickly fade into the background and remain unnoticed. WordPress — one of the most popular and reliable content management systems (CMS) on earth — offers an array of plugins you and your website manager can utilize to track and optimize your search rankings in Google.

    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!


    Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress

    Info & Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-analytics-dashboard-for-wp/

    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 SEO

    Info & Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/screenshots/

    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.


    REL Nofollow Checkbox

    Info & Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/rel-nofollow-checkbox/

    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.


    SEO Friendly Images

    Info & Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/seo-image/

    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.


    Remove Query Strings From Static Resources

    Info & Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/remove-query-strings-from-static-resources/

    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.

  • 3 Proven Ways To Boost Your Website For Google Search

    In April of 2015, Google started requiring that your website be mobile-friendly, or risk losing your position in its Search rankings. Aside from ensuring your website is mobile-friendly — which is perhaps the most important requirement for websites these days — let’s take a look at some other things you can do to optimize your website for Google Search.

    I’ll discuss three key principles we use here at Site Assembly to positively impact your website’s search results. In no way is this a comprehensive guide to optimizing your website for Google Search. Nor is there any one-size-fits-all approach to SEO. However, if executed correctly, there’s enough here to have a positive impact on your Google Search rankings.

    It’s also important to note that we’ll specifically be discussing on-site search engine optimization. This includes manageable tasks you and your website manager can do to gradually boost your Google Search rankings.

    There are other search engines you should also be paying attention to, but many of them do not have the stringent search algorithms and progressive requirements set forth by Google Search.

    Let’s dive in!

    Research Your Competitors

    One of the first things we do when meeting a new client is ask who their closest competitors are. We study things like, whether their competitor’s websites are mobile-friendly; what keywords they’re using; and how well they rank in Google Search. Doing so helps ensure your website meets or beats your competitor’s rankings. We also check back regularly to see how, if at all, your competitors are evolving their SEO strategy.

    Perform Regular Keyword Updates

    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!

  • 3 Things Every Health & Wellness Website Needs To Convert More Clients

    Health and wellness coaches spend countless hours helping others look and feel better as part of their jobs. Part of our job is to find ways to turn your health and wellness coaching website visitors into paying clients, but how do we do that? The truth is, health and wellness coaches are members of a unique industry, one that requires special features in order to build a website that converts. If you’re a wellness coach looking to optimize your website for conversions, you’ve come to the right place. Now, let’s dig in.

    Before & After Photos To Boost Your Credibility

    Health and wellness coaching is a results-driven industry. Your clients want to see those results. So, how can you do this? One way would be to include before and after photos of your clients who’ve had success with your program. You can feature them on your home page, or create a separate page called Before & After. Just make sure you feature high-quality images here so they look pixel-perfect on every device.

    Built-In Appointment Setting for Simplified Online Scheduling

    Give your clients the ability to book time with you directly through your website by implementing an online booking feature. You can implement appointment setting capabilities into your website to ensure you’re able to fill your schedule exactly how you want. Doing so will also provide your clients with an optimized online experience. There a number of WordPress plugins and custom calendar integrations your web manager can utilize to set up online appointment setting for your website.

    Online Contact Forms for Your Coaching Website

    Implementing an online contact form into your website gives you complete control over incoming inquiries and potential sales opportunities. Make sure to include fields for name, phone number and email address, and a brief message. Contact forms can oftentimes be forwarded to your preferred email address each time someone sends a new form inquiry. The benefits are endless as to how an on-site contact form can save your business time and effort.

    The Wrap-Up

    So, there you have it: the three most important features your health and wellness coaching website must include to convert more of your site visitors into paying clients. Next week, we’ll explore the different ways you can boost sales leads, such as by solidifying your website’s main call-to-action. Over time, the changes outlined in this article can help boost online conversions and increase customer engagement.

    To learn more about how we can build your ideal website and increase conversions, call our Site Experts seven-days-a-week.

  • Go Ahead, Like Your Own Facebook Posts

    Have you ever noticed any of your friends on Facebook who “Like” their own posts? If so, and you’re anything like me, you may have thought to yourself, “How vain is that?”. After all, liking your own Facebook post is like telling someone you’re a really cool person (how lame!). But the truth is, there is some logic behind it. Sure, some of those friends may be “liking” their own posts out of pure vanity, but, chances are, they’re doing it for a very good reason.

    As an avid Facebook user myself both professionally and personally, I noticed not too long ago that the world’s largest Social Network revised some its features. You may have noticed these updates yourself. One of these updates directly affected the News Feed. In particular, we were introduced to the (not so new now) “Ticker”.

    But first, some more context on the News Feed updates.

    Essentially, their News Feed updates represent Facebook’s evil plan to control the posts we see on and when we see them. Okay, maybe not so evil, but still, Facebook quite literally controls the posts we see on our Timeline by only showing us the posts they think we may want to see most. I’m unsure of the exact logic Facebook uses here, but, in reality, this means that some of your most cherished posts may have never been seen by a majority of your Friends in the first place. In hindsight that may be a good thing for some of our past posts (you know which ones I’m talking about), but for the most part, this is a frustrating thing for anyone to discover.

    Do not fret, though, for there is a solution… sort of.

    The truth is, unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee that your post shows up in your Friend’s’ News Feeds. But, if you want your posts to at least become more visible than invisible, then “liking” your own posts may be the best solution.

    That’s right, I said it: It’s okay to Like your own posts! Actually, it may be better than okay as it may increase the chances that your Friends actually see the post in the first place.

    The reason is because “liking” your own Facebook post pushes the action to your Friend’s’ Ticker—that small box in the top, right corner that lists the likes, shares and other activities of your Friends as they happen. So, while this may not increase the chances of your posts showing up in your Friends’ News Feeds, it does increase your post’s visibility by way of the Ticker showing your Friends that you just Liked a new post. When they click on that notification, voila! They will see your post. Which means now we can’t make fun of people who Like their own posts (*sad face with a tear*).

  • Why SEO Isn’t What You Think It Is

    Oftentimes, one of the first things our clients ask when they first sign up for one of our Site Plans, is whether or not SEO is included. And while we completely understand our clients’ desire to know whether or not their website will be optimized for search engines—which, by the way, it certainly will—it’s not as simple as simply saying yes. We like to give our clients a bit more clarification so they know exactly what yes means. This may mean giving a long-winded answer to a question one might’ve thought was pretty straightforward, but, our hope is that each of our clients come out more informed on the other side. So, buckle up and hold on tight, because today, you’ll probably learn more about SEO than you ever really wanted to know.

    There Are About A Thousand Variables That Make Up SEO

    Okay, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but not by much. From choosing the right image naming conventions & utilizing the most valuable keywords on each web page, to avoiding inline CSS & building your website responsively, “SEO” is actually a collection of best practices and ongoing efforts that require special attention and dedication from the very beginning. If your website isn’t optimized for search engines already, that probably means either, 1) You designed your website yourself and didn’t consider all these variables, or 2) the person/machine who designed your website didn’t consider all these variables.

    Mobile Responsiveness Is Now Mandatory (For Google)

    Starting on April 21, 2015, Google Search has increased their “mobile-friendliness” favorability ranking from “nice to have” to “required”. Which means now, you don’t have an option as to whether or not your website is optimized for mobile or not—since it’s now a requirement if you want to be recognized by the search giant. So, instead of avoiding this new guideline, it’s best to face it head-on. If your website isn’t already mobile-friendly, now’s the time to make sure it is.

    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.

  • 3 Ways To Build Your Customer Base On A Shoe-String Budget

    Have you ever wondered how some small businesses can be so incredibly successful at engaging with their customers online, and building their customer base? You may tell yourself, “Well, some people just have that special something, and some don’t”. But that’s a lie straight from the gates of Hell; and one that should never be repeated after today! The truth is, you have what it takes to develop meaningful customer relationships. And when you really get down to it, that’s exactly what it takes to get to the next level.

    Taking that notion a bit further: If you’re looking to grow your customer base—or maybe even get your first customer—you’re going to have to think like your customers think. That doesn’t mean lowering your prices, posting some promotions on your Facebook Page, and crossing your fingers. It means getting to know things about your customers that will help you develop a strategy that appeals directly to your most likely devotee.

    “But how do I do this on a shoe-string budget?”, you may be asking yourself.

    I thought you’d never ask.

    Run Unique Social Network Specials

    When you hear things like, “You should use social media to reach your customers”, you probably think, “that’s pretty simple!” However, in order to garner new customers in a crowded room of competitors (and I mean really, really crowded), you’re going to have to do better than just posting some inspirational quotes and sharing your services pricing. An example of creating unique, engaging posts would be to run a promotion that offers a free carpet cleaning on National Cleaning Day for the first 5 customers to “like” your Facebook page (if you’re a carpet cleaning service). Or, (if you’re a Burger restaurant called Burger Republic) you might want to run a contest on Instagram where the fan who posts the most scrumptious-looking photo of your food with the tag #burgerrepublicphoto gets a $25 gift card to your restaurant.

    These specials shouldn’t be cross-promoted. If you’re running the promotion on Facebook, advertise it other places, but always lead back to Facebook. Don’t run the same promotion on Twitter and Instagram. If you do, that can look desperate and turn customers off.

    Offer Something To Get Something

    If you want a new customer, one of the best ways to get one is to give something in return. When Site Assembly first began, we got our first few clients by offering our services at a substantial discount to a closed number of early adopters. This got us out into the world, and built our reputation organically. However, we didn’t do so without asking for something in return.

    In exchange for the discount we were offering, we asked these first few clients to write a truthful review about their experience with us, that we could use on our website. We also asked them to “like” our Facebook page and “follow us” on Twitter. And you know what, every single one of them were more than willing to do so. You can do this, too. The good news is, you might not even have to offer a huge discount. There are other great ways to amass new customers besides discounting your products or services. Either way, the takeaway here is that, offering something in return for their business is always a promising way to attract new patrons.

    Hire Site Assembly

    Okay, so, there’s a little bit of self-promotion going on here, I know. But, it’s true: If you’re really looking to build your online presence, and in turn grow your customer base, but find that you don’t have the time (or patience) to stick with it, it may be time to consult with one of our Site Experts. The benefit is that our developers, designers and social media experts do the hard work for you, so you can focus on the retention and satisfaction of the customers you’re bringing in. We’re skilled in creating custom-written content, building beautiful websites, and creating high-level posts on your behalf that help your business stand out online.

    If you’re interested in talking with one of our Site Experts, click on the Live Chat widget, or click here.

  • Data In Design: How Information Analytics Is Clouding Our Minds

    There’s no denying that data is a great thing. The accumulation and analyzation of it has become the next great frontier in technology, leading to a new world of startups, as well as more efficient ways to do things. It gives us insight into our applications and user engagements that we can in turn use to make more informed decisions as web designers, project managers and app developers. Data undoubtedly helps us to improve business processes and boost user engagement. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end-all to building killer user experiences. In fact, too much data—or the over-consumption of analytics-based information—can actually end up getting in the way of us doing our jobs most effectively. At times, data collection can even contribute to the stagnation of new design trends and may actually end up stifling innovation in more ways than one.

    “You’re not suggesting that all this information we’ve been collecting in vast troves can’t be used, though, right?”

    Of course not!

    In order to be the best at what we do, though, we must be able to admit our own faults. And right now, our fault as web designers and developers is that we tend to rely too heavily on data collection to make design decisions. Of course, data is one of the most important things to consider when creating and designing user experiences. But if we’re not careful, data collection can have a tendency to get in the way of our professional expertise and lead to our making of somewhat less exceptional design decisions.

    Think about it like this: The web is a vast, wondrous universe, ever-expanding in nature just like the very universe we occupy as humans. Evolution, therefore, is key to innovation and is what drives us forward as a collective—that being the Greater Design Collective. However, without adaptation and iteration, innovation cannot—and will never—exist.

    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.

  • Death To DIY Site Builders & High-Cost Websites

    Here’s a statistic you may not know: More than six million small businesses are started each year in the United States alone.

    That’s a huge number! Yet, many of these businesses face a single, common dilemma: Not knowing where to turn when it comes to building and managing their websites. It’s an issue that continues to plague many business owners today, even though most understand the importance of having a great website, and what it could mean if they don’t have one.

    But understanding is no longer enough. As a business owner in this modern age, it’s expected that you have a beautiful website that looks great on every device. You’re also expected to be engaged on social media, aware of your search engine rankings (and what SEO is), and in touch with your digital persona. It’s no wonder, then, why overwhelmed is the first emotion most business owners experience when dealing with their websites and online presence.

    But it doesn’t have to be this way.

    Most small business owners can’t afford to waste time and money on these things. And that’s okay because they shouldn’t have to. After all, I wouldn’t ask an irrigation specialist to fix my car’s radiator; nor would I expect an event planner to know how to build a bridge. Why, then, should we expect business owners to know how to design and manage their own websites?

    The answer is, we shouldn’t. It’s not only an unreasonable expectation, it’s also just plain counterproductive. A baker shouldn’t have to spend countless hours learning the newest website builder when their time would be much better spent baking cakes and serving fresh, out-of-the-oven strudels (mmmm…).

    But all that is poised to change. With our straight-forward, three-step process, small business owners are able to free themselves from the chains of DIY site builders and costly web design services–some demanding $5,000 or more to build a WordPress website.

    Not with us. After a quick, 15-minute phone call aimed at getting to know more about you and your business, the rest is left to our Site Experts to handle. We operate 365-days-a-year, handling everything from the design of your website, to web hosting, domain registration, file backups and content updates. We even setup a Facebook business Page on your behalf so you can easily engage with your fans and customers.

    Site Plans start at just $75 a month after a small, initial design fee, which means now you can get the website you deserve and get back to doing what you do best.

    The truth is, it’s much more complex than clicking a ‘publish’ button after writing some text and dragging some images around. Building your online presence is an ongoing process that takes time and constant iteration. But now, business owners can breathe easier knowing they have a way to get their business online without wasting their valuable time and money.

  • What To Consider When Launching Your Online Presence

    Launching and building your online presence may seem daunting and confusing if you’re not a technical business owner. (Don’t worry, you’d definitely fall into the majority if you’re in that category.) The task probably seems even less appealing if you’ve been left to manage it all yourself in the past, as if you have the time and expertise to maintain your website, manage your online presence, and learn SEO trends—while, of course, simultaneously running your own business.

    Truthfully, there are a lot of moving parts you’ve got to do to keep your online presence moving in the right direction. The good news is, with an experienced team on your side, the process can actually be quite manageable — pleasurable even. So, if you’re looking to “take the plunge”, consider these five things to gain an edge and get ahead!

    What are your website’s objectives/goals?

    One of the first things you should be asking yourself when looking to build your online presence is, “what is the intended goal of my website?” This is important not only for you, but more so, for your designer. Without this information, your designer will simply be designing “in the dark” (i.e. designing without a plan). This is less ideal for you, to say the last, and certainly not ideal for your business’s bottom line. So, before you go any further, take some time to figure out what you want to get from your website. Or, more fittingly, what your website can do for you—whether that be marketing your brick-and-mortar business, selling your products online, or adding to your newsletter readership.

    Where are your customers hanging out?

    If you’re just now getting your business online, chances are, you haven’t thought much about what sort of social outreach you’re going to implement to engage with your customers. And that’s okay. Now’s the perfect time to start! The best way to figure out how best to reach your potential customers is to first figure out where they’re hanging out already. For instance, let’s say you own an organic smoothie shop, who’s target customer is between the ages of 18 and 35. In that case, creating visually-stimulating Instagram posts that offer insights into the ingredients of your product would probably catch their attention. Or, if you’re a bike shop in Tampa, FL, writing a guest blog for TampaBikeRiders.org may be your best bet. The bottom line is, if you want to reach your ideal customers, you’ve got to go where they can already be found.

    Have you setup your core social media accounts?

    For Heaven’s sake, don’t deny the glory of social media! At Site Assembly, we’ve seen too many businesses turn down our social media services, and yet neglect to handle the task themselves. This is a detrimental mistake. Your customers want to interact with you; by all means give them what they want.

    Setting up a Facebook business Page and optimizing your Google+ business profile, for instance, can help kickstart your social media presence, and get the ball rolling. After you’re up-and-running, follow these steps to create engaging posts and boost your social media footprint.

    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.

  • 5 Online Tools Every Small Business Should Be Using

    *Disclaimer: I, nor Site Assembly, have a vested interest, or financial stake, in any of the below-listed websites or services.

    If you want to get ahead as a business owner today, you must adopt new technologies, utilize available resources and learn things you may not have had to learn as a business owner in years past. To maximize adoptability, many of the services and resources mentioned in this article are not only free, but extremely easy to learn and use. So easy, in fact, that millions of business owners just like you have already started using them. Of course, these services aren’t going to be of much help if you don’t already have a

    Email Campaign Manager

    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!

    Google Analytics

    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.