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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! —
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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.