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Blog Website Redesign – Perform A Website Redesign

The Real Benefits Of A Website Redesign

When was the last time you performed a website redesign? If your website hasn’t been redesigned in a few years, the website may look out of date. Let us provide helpful advice on website redesign topics and how you can tell if your website is outdated.

A website redesign is a topic lots of web designers have with customers. Not an easy topic, but one that must be discussed eventually. An outdated website can affect the bottom line. For example, an obsolete site can deter customers from performing a conversion. A conversion can consist of a phone call to the business or filling out a form for the business to collect leads. Outdated websites can be harmful to a business. For example, a customer will not do business with an outdated website period. Let’s discuss aspects about a website redesign and how you can benefit from a new fresh coat of paint.

Website Redesign Cost

The first question we receive is how much does a web redesign cost? The answer is, it depends. For instance, a redesign cost will vary depending on the type of redesign you want. Will the website incorporate new features? Do you want the website to be responsive to mobile devices? Are we going to upgrade the website’s hosting? These are some of the questions to get the customer thinking about the new design.

The first phase of the redesign is to evaluate the current site. For instance, go through the existing website and keep a list of features you like and don’t like. Determine what is presently working in terms of conversions. Eliminate the aspects of the website that aren’t working or you don’t like. If you have Google Analytics installed – the software will be a helpful tool to determine how your audience interacts with the website.

In short, a redesign is a collaborative effort with the web designer and customer. Both participants will need to strategize on how to make the website’s redesign optimal for conversions and engaging for customers.

Why A Website Redesign Can Help Generate Revenue

An outdated website will hurt the bottom line. A study performed by Kissmetrics suggests a design improvement can help increase revenue. For example, if an existing website is poorly designed there’s a good chance customers are not able to find the content they’re looking for. If a customer cannot find the content she’s looking for, chances are the visitor will leave the website and head to a competitors website. A new design can assist with customer engagement. For instance, a website that is easy to use will help customers find the product or service she is looking for.

Picture an outdated website. How do you feel when on a website that appears old? For example, would you feel comfortable performing a transaction on a website that looks outdated? Chances are a visitor will not purchase or perform any actions on an old site. A website who’s design appears outdated deters visitors from making a purchase or interacting with the site. Especially, if the website doesn’t provide some form of a secure check out process.

As you can imagine, a website that looks and feels clunky cannot help but deter customers. An outdated website is likely to have a bad user experience, therefore, losing a visitor or worse, lose a customer who’s ready to purchase.

Focus On A Redesign That Converts Customers

Designing a website to look pretty and have cool features is a nice touch. The real focus of a redesign is to place the customer on a journey and have them perform a specific action. For instance, a customer journey will consist of guiding them to contact you on the phone, fill out a web form, or request a quote. The goal is to have the customer perform an action that helps a business generate money. Not an easy task, but certainly attainable.

A conversion can consist of any specific action a customer performs. For example, a conversion can be a customer filling out a form, instructing the customer to call the business, or download a PDF for more information. All websites need to set goals of what the customer should perform.

The web designer can assist coming up with creative ways on how to successfully convert the customer’s target audience.

Why A WordPress Website Is Awesome For Small Business

WordPress Websites Are Becoming the Norm For Small Businesses.

What exactly is a WordPress website? Wikipedia defines WordPress as a free and open-source content management system based on PHP and MySQL. In non-geeky terms, WordPress is a website platform that comes equipped with a content management system (CMS). A CMS allows website owners to update content, publish blog posts, and control every aspect of the website. The platform provides non-savvy programmers the ability to add functionality to their website without knowing code.

Why is a WordPress website becoming so popular? The simplicity of the platform is the main reason. We’ll explain why small business owners are running, not walking, to WordPress.

Small Business Are Embracing WordPress Websites

WordPress is a growing behemoth in the web space. Venture Beat states 25% of all websites on the Internet are run by WordPress. Therefore, one out of four websites is running the WordPress software. Think about that for one second. One of out four websites are using WordPress for their website. Websites like eCommerce, brochure, insurance, and so forth are using WordPress to power their business’ website.

Any size business, small, medium, or enterprise size, are using WordPress for their company needs. For example, the Rolling Stones are using WordPress for their website. WordPress websites are thriving because small businesses are adopting the platform at a rapid pace. For instance, when building a WordPress website, a CMS is provided with the software. A website owner can add photos to the home page. Update text on the about us page. Even add a contact form to the contact page. All in one click. The control a small business owner has over their website is limitless.

The easy to use back end system provides website owners the tools needed to make edits themselves. As a result, small business owners can become their own webmasters. Ideally, a business owner can manage all of the content. However, we’d recommend having a professional handle the web tasks on your behalf. We explain in a blog post why its best to outsource WordPress support.

 

WordPress Website Adoption Rates Are High & Rising

WordPress websites are becoming popular among different types of websites. Everything, from websites that provide general information about their business to a full-fledged online store. Because WordPress has become so popular, many web designers have dedicated their skill set to WordPress exclusively. Hence, the WordPress platform is a popular choice among small business who can collaborate with small business web design firms. What truly separates the platform from others is the community. The WordPress community is a helpful bunch. For example, the WordPress.org website has a section dedicated to free support. Any member of the community can sign up to ask WordPress related questions. There’s a good chance a member of the forum will answer the question. Being helpful is a trait all WordPress advocates possess.

As the adoption rate for WordPress grows, so will the cost-savings for small business. Let me explain. If the WordPress platform was inclusive and not used by many websites, the development rates sky rocket to $250 / hour. An expense that a small business may not be able to endure. However, since WordPress is so popular, a small business has more options to choose from.

 

Giant Ecosystem Of Plugins

Small business websites can benefit from WordPress plugins. A WordPress plugin is a piece of software containing specific features that add to a WordPress website. Due to business owners not knowing how to code, plugins become helpful in this instance. Small business owners are looking for one click and efficient solutions. Plugins are just that. Small pieces of software that provide a function and no programming needed.

WordPress Plugins are the foundation of the platform. A WordPress plugin is installed within the dashboard. Most all WordPress websites have some sort of plugin installed. For example, a popular contact form plugin Contact Form 7 is a free contact form that website owners can use. The plugin provides the ability for website owners to capture leads or answer any questions a customer has.

Plugins are a helpful way of adding functionality to a WordPress website. Unfortunately, some plugins are abandoned by WordPress developers. Here’s a helpful tip, avoid unsupported plugins. Ensure a plugin is updated on a consistent basis. As a result, a plugin will need to be assessed prior to installing into your WordPress website.

 

WordPress Themes – Many To Choose From

Small business owners may not have the funds to pay for a custom website. For example, custom websites can cost anywhere from $10,000 – $50,000. Not an ideal expense for a small business. WordPress and other 3rd party designers have built pre-made themes designed specifically for the platform. Pre-made themes can help prevent the cost of hiring a graphic designer to create a website.

When purchasing pre-made themes, make sure the developer provides support. A lot of pre-made themes on the market sell to customers without support provided. A WordPress theme without support is not ideal. Because if a WordPress theme is not updated consistently, there is a good chance the website can be hacked. In short, it is extremely important to keep a theme updated. A non-updated theme could cause trouble down the road.

Most of all, consumers are unaware of unnecessary features that are provided when purchasing a pre-made theme. For example, lots of pre-made themes come equipped with bloated plugins. Unnecessary, plugins that drag the website down. Therefore, it is best practice to perform due diligence prior to purchasing a pre-made theme.

 

WordPress For The Win

We hope we provided ample information to help business owners make an informed decision when developing a website. There is no such thing as the perfect platform, but we think a WordPress  website can help a small business bottom line.

WordPress Website Goes Down? We're Here To Rescue You

What To Do When Your Website Goes Down

The first thing to do when a website goes down is not panic!

All website owners have experienced this one way or another. The website will be working fine one minute. The next minute, the website is down. Not an ideal scenario. What is a website owner to do? We put together a list of troubleshooting steps you can perform. These steps will help you find the actual problem and resolve the issue. No one likes when a website goes down, especially during peak browsing times. Note these steps are for a WordPress based website.

 

#1 Is Your Web Host Experiencing Issues?

When a website goes down, there are numerous factors that could’ve happen. One of the main culprits is to check with your web hosting provider. Most of the time, the web host is experiencing technical issues. These can range from data centers experiencing power issues to a natural disaster hitting the data center.

These are a bit on the extreme side, but we have experienced these issues in the past. What is a website owner to do in this situation? One solution is to have a backup host ready in the wings. We’ll use a basketball analogy for the backup server. The backup web host can act as a sixth man on a basketball team. The sixth man is typically a player who can be a starter in the lineup. However, he’s more valuable coming off the bench providing his much needed skill set. In this instance, the backup host is waiting on the bench ready to play. You simply switch web host and point the website to the cloned website. Instead of waiting and wondering when the web host will be back up and functioning, you have another web host waiting on the bench.

 

Pro Tip: Make sure when you pick a backup web host you pick a different provider. For example, you can use SiteGround as your main host and BlueHost as a backup. Having the website on different web hosts helps prevent using the same host should issues arise.

 

#2 Did You Update A Plugin Recently?

Plugins are what make the WordPress platform unique to its competitors. Plugins are components that add custom functionality to a WordPress website. Once installed the administrator activates the plugin to begin using it on the website. The idea of WordPress plugins are to add components that a non-developer would not know how to program. In certain instances plugins can be extremely useful. For example, adding a contact form to a contact page. Sometimes plugins are not programmed properly, don’t play nice with a newer version of WordPress, or the source code in the plugin conflicts with other plugins.

If a WordPress admin were to update or add a plugin. There may be a chance you receive the white screen of death (WSOD). In this case you’re pretty much on an island. Not too worry! There are a couple of troubleshooting steps you can take in order to resolve the issue. First, determine if an update caused the crash. Did you update or install a plugin and all of a sudden the WSOD appeared? Below are some basic troubleshooting steps you can take.

 

  1. Determine which plugin you updated (or installed) and find the version before hand. Depending on where the plugin was downloaded, you may be able to revert back to the previous version.
  2. Once you have the old plugin, head to Cpanel or FTP into the website.
  3. Navigate to the wp-content (folders) – plugins (folder) – find the plugin and rename the culprit plugin folder by adding .disable to the plugin
  4. Install or upload the previous version plugin – wait for upload to complete
  5. Refresh the web page and all should be back to normal

 

This is an extremely simplified version of troubleshooting with basic steps. We want you as the administrator of the website to understand that not all plugins are programmed equally. Always perform your due diligence when deciding to install a plugin on the website. Be sure to put emotion aside when troubleshooting. Keep your poise throughout the entire process.

 

Pro Tip: Choosing plugins should be a smart decision. Research each plugin before installing the component on the website. Making sure the developer is consistently updating the plugin is a good sign. Plugins that have not been updated in years should be ignored.

 

#3 Did A WordPress Update Kill My Website?

Updating WordPress core files is a must when maintaining a WordPress based website. There are some instances when a WordPress update made the website goes down. In these situations there are a couple of options you have to remedy the situation. Before we provide the solution, be sure to take a backup of the existing website. First, if you haven’t updated your WordPress website in quite some time, chances the update may break the website increase. Let’s take this scenario and run with it. Let’s say you run a WordPress core update and notice the site becomes inaccessible. Rule number one is to not panic. We determine the core update broke the website. What do we do in this situation?

If you are familiar with the version of WordPress you had previously. Head to the WordPress.org core files release archive and download the version your website was previously on. From here you have two options. One is to upload the old WordPress core files through an FTP client. The only folder you do not replace is the wp-content folder. If you are unfamiliar with FTP, then the second option is to upload all the files, minus wp-content, through cPanel. The cPanel has a specific area called File Management where an admin can upload, edit, and erase files and folders. Once you upload the WordPress core files, head back to the website and refresh. If all is working, success! If not, you’ll need to head to the WordPress release archive to download the version your WordPress website was previously on.

 

Pro Tip: If the website is still functioning odd try disabling plugins by renaming each one .disable. Try each plugin one at a time to see if a plugin is the culprit. If all else fails time to hire a WordPress pro to assist! 😉

 

Let’s Recap!

We provided a list of basic troubleshooting steps for the average user to perform when a WordPress website goes down. Web hosts can be the main culprit at times. Having a backup server in the wings can be the star bench player you need during crunch time. Keeping a website updated means having plugins, themes, and WordPress core files updated to the latest version. Even though some updates may implode a website. We provided a list of steps you can take in order to resolve any of the issues mentioned above. For all the DiYers give these steps a shot. If you run into any issues, holler at us in the comments section to collaborate. If you’re afraid of breaking more of the website we can chat in the comments as well. Good luck and may the WordPress force be with you!

WordPress Security Tips

WordPress Security Tips For Businesses

WordPress security should be a high priority for all WordPress sites. Even though it may be an afterthought.

WordPress security has always been a hot topic for discussion. A lot of customers we interact with are concerned about WordPress vulnerabilities. We’re here to tell you that WordPress, like all other platforms, is not invincible. However, if you keep plugins, themes, and WordPress core up to date, you’re already winning half the battle. We’ll discuss some important tips for hardening a WordPress website. In addition, we’ll provide WordPress security plugins to help along the way.

Host Your Website With A Great Web Host

We’ve dealt with plenty of different hosting vendors. We don’t like saying this out loud, but some are lousy, while others are really top notch. When we perform an audit or a customer is having issues with the website. We always like to review the host the customer is on. Almost half of all websites that are comprised are due to their web host. What do we mean? A staggering 41% of hacked websites are through a security vulnerability found on their hosting platform. The statistic is astonishing! There are numerous steps you can take in order to help harden your website. For starters, always check with a web host if the company supports the latest PHP version. Chances are the answer is yes. Perform some due diligence and ask questions. Verify with the hosting company if a WordPress Firewall is included. A Firewall provides a layer of security in front of your website. Highly recommend you shop around to see what host suits your needs and budget.

Stronger Login Credentials

Don’t make an website attackers life easy by having a simplified password. Use a password that is hard to guess. There have been plenty of times when a customer is using a password that is oversimplified. We won’t embarrass any of our customers because we love them too much. A good rule of thumb is having a password with 12 – 14 characters in length. Throw in some special characters such as exclamation points, question marks, and asterisks. Don’t get cute and use numbers for letters. Everyone has caught on to that game. Add some numbers to the mix as well. The more complex the password the better. Even a random password generator can be used. There are numerous sites that can randomly generate passwords for you to use. Use the password generator and store the passwords in a secure place.

Back in the old days of WordPress, the default username “admin” was used to create the administrator for the WordPress site. Fast forward to the present, the administrator has the ability to create any username. We still see WordPress websites using “admin” as the primary administrator account. Stop! The problem with using “admin” is hackers already know this fact. You’ve already provided the directions to the house. All these attackers need to figure out is the password for the website. Chances are the hacker will figure it out. The best way to keep the WordPress login secure is to change the username to something unique. The more unique, the better you are off.

Remember strong login credentials are a must have. A hard to guess password, coupled with a unique username make a hackers life more difficult. If you really want to remain secure, you should change passwords on a scheduled basis. Practice safe security with complex passwords and unique usernames.

Limit Login Attempts

We stay with the login theme with another helpful tip. There are scripts and plugins that can help limit login attempts. We’ll discuss the plugin in detail. An excellent reviewed plugin that provides limit login attempts is Login Security Solution. The plugin provides many different amenities. Everything from limiting login attempts into a WordPress site to blocking brute force attacks attempting to login.  In a brute force attack, automated software is used to generate a large number of consecutive guesses as to the value of the desired data. In our case, the attacker is attempting to guess the username and password to force themselves into the website’s back end. The Login Security Solution plugin has a setting that recognizes this type of attack. The software in the plugin shuts out the hacker without affecting real administrators. After multiple attempts of failure, the likelihood of the attacker moving on to an easier site increases. Another plugin that we’ll discuss in another blog post is WordFence. Quick overview, WordFence is a robust plugin that provides many WordPress security features. Including the limit login attempts. Install the Limit Login Attempts plugin. We know it will help in the long run.

Use Common Sense

When it comes to making sure the website is secured, use common sense. Don’t give out login credentials to strangers. Don’t ever add another administrator to your WordPress site. Do not give strangers FTP access. Be wary of people around you. Make sure no one is watching you enter your credentials into your website. If something doesn’t feel right, do not do it. Listen to your gut. Practice secure credential transfers with emailing the username and texting the password to the other party. This helps prevent your username and password being out on the internet. Using common sense can go a long way.

WordPress security is a concern website owners should be wary of. Having the website harden by a WordPress professional is something a businesses should consider. One WordPress security we didn’t discuss much was performing regular website backups. We actually have a blog post dedicated to WordPress backups. We highly recommend you read the post. Get caught up on the best practices for backing up. Find out what plugins we recommend for those backups. If you have any questions be sure to comment below and we’d be happy to answer!

5 Types Of WordPress Websites You Can Create

The WordPress website platform recently reached the 25% milestone! The 25% represents the amount of websites on the Internet that are using the platform to power a website. Think about that for a moment. One out of every four websites are WordPress based. Impressive! WordPress is one of the top platforms trusted by many types of industries. We thought it would be a good idea to present the types of website’s WordPress powers. Let’s discuss how individuals, businesses, and non-profit websites are using WordPress.

Blog or Personal WordPress Website

personal-beautiful-theme
Personal WordPress Theme

 

WordPress began as a blogging platform that many early adopters used. The platform was clean in design, simple to use, and open source. Fast forward to today, lots of individuals use WordPress to blog about themselves and categories that interest them. Everything under the sun can be blogged about. Topics like politics, music, family, travel, health, you name it and there’s someone, somewhere blogging about one of these subjects. The personal / blog website is the lowest common denominator of all WordPress websites built today.

Business WordPress Website

wordpress-business-theme
X Theme Business WordPress Theme

Business based website’s have rapidly adopted WordPress as a platform to run the company website. Professionals ranging from lawyers, doctors, and real estate agents are using WordPress to augment the work the business has accomplished to present to their core audience. WordPress was built with small to medium businesses in mind. For example, WordPress comes with a standard content management system (CMS) that allows the business to manage all of the content on the website. We mentioned WordPress being open source (aka free) to the public. Any cost conscious business understands saving money. WordPress provides a business the ability to manage its own website with ease.

eCommerce WordPress Website

ecommerce-wordpress-theme
eCommerce WordPress Theme

You’re thinking, WordPress can be an eCommerce site? The quick answer is yes! Back in May of this year, the folks at Automattic purchased the popular WooCommerce system. In a nutshell, WooCommerce is a plugin that turns a WordPress website into a powerhouse eCommerce website. The plugin provides the ability to have a product page, establish pricing for specific products, control the shipping cost and so much more. The plugin itself is extremely robust. With WooCommerce a WordPress website will become an eCommerce website within in minutes.

Non-Profits and Religious WordPress Websites

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Non-Profit WordPress Theme

Foundations, charities, and non-profits are using the WordPress platform to raise awareness for the organization’s main cause. The platform fits perfectly for these types of websites. As we mentioned above, the WordPress platform for self hosted websites is a free platform. With these types of organizations who are not generating revenue on a consistent basis, having a WordPress based site keeps the cost low. Lastly, there are plenty of designers and developers who have themes specifically targeted to these organizations.

Portfolio WordPress Websites

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Portfolio WordPress Theme

Photographers, web and graphic designers, and artists this category is suitable for you. Nothing speaks louder than displaying previous projects and seeing what the designer has accomplished. The portfolio site is the perfect way to display finished products for potential customers. In addition, providing an explanation of what entailed to complete the project gives customers an inside look into how the project was completed and what steps were taken in order to accomplish the final product.

As you have read, WordPress has become a monster of a website platform. Not only does the platform account for 25% of all websites on the Internet, but a WordPress website can be used for any type of site. Feel free to share some of your websites in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!