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6 Steps to Making Your WordPress Site Mobile-Friendly

Written by Chris Delker

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Mobile Friendly WordPress

The world is going mobile. And quickly. In 2014, for the first time ever, mobile devices were used to access the Internet more often than PCs. It was a landmark occurrence. A game changer.

And yet many businesses continue to pay little attention to the mobile-friendliness of their websites. But Google is paying very close attention.

In fact, if your business website isn’t mobile-friendly, you can expect Google to be giving you the cold shoulder in search engine rankings. As recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, Google has begun favoring mobile-friendly sites, and penalizing sites that are less mobile-friendly.

So if your business WordPress site isn’t mobile-friendly, making it so should probably be bumped up in priority on your to-do list. Tech.co recently published a 6-step process for making your site mobile-friendly.

 

Step 1: Choose Your Hosting Service Carefully

Any mobile-friendly changes you make to your site could be for naught if your hosting company provides slow and unreliable service. Pennies saved in choosing the cheapest hosting services available may turn out to be quite expensive in the long run.

 

Step 2: Choose a Mobile-Friendly WordPress Theme

The WordPress theme you choose serves as both the foundation and framework of your website. What type of theme is mobile-friendly? A fast theme. Loading speed is a key factor in making a site mobile-friendly, so a fast-loading, responsive theme is ideal.

Look for themes that have been tagged as having a “responsive layout.”

 

Step 3: Customize Your Content

Structuring your content to be mobile-friendly is critical. What defines “mobile-friendliness” when it comes to content? In general, your content should be easy to view on small screens, and should be “finger-friendly” – easy to navigate by touch.

Here are a few specific tips for making content mobile-friendly:

  • Larger font sizes are better than smaller
  • Buttons should be large in size, and isolated enough to easily tap with a fingertip without inadvertently hitting something else
  • Lots of whitespace
  • Short headlines
  • Make content scannable: break text into lots of subsections with subtitles
  • Position the most important info on a web page close to the top

 

Step 4: Manage Plugins

One of the great advantages WordPress offers is the wealth of plugins that are available. But plugins are so easy to add that website owners often end up with quite a collection. The result is that sites are often burdened with a number of plugins that aren’t really needed or useful.

A proliferation of plugins can contribute to performance issues that can make your site less mobile-friendly. So stay on top of the plugins you’ve added to your site. Prune away those that aren’t really contributing to your site. And make certain that the plugins you use are kept up-to-date with the latest versions.

 

Step 5: Optimize Images

Images are an important component of your website’s content. But they can significantly slow the load time of your site, making it less mobile-friendly. You can help to counteract that problem by using plugins that work to optimize the loading of images.

Some plugins worth considering for this purpose include:

  • Image Pro
  • CW Image Optimizer
  • Imsanity
  • Hammy
  • EWWW Image Optimizer
  • PB Responsive Images

 

Step 6: Test

Once you’ve optimized your site to be mobile-friendly, test it. See how it performs on your own mobile devices. Does it load fast? Is it easy to navigate via touch screen? Does the text fit the screen?

The greater the variety of mobile devices you can use in testing your site, the better. Ask friends and family to also check out your site on their devices. And be sure to find out whether your site rates a mobile-friendly thumbs-up from Google. You can easily use Google’s testing tool to evaluate your site for free.

 

Worth the Effort

It can be a bit of a chore to make certain that your site is mobile-friendly. But it’s worth the effort. Doing so will help to assure that your site ranks as highly as possible in search engine results. And making your site comfortable and easy-to-use for mobile visitors will help to keep them on your site longer.

But most importantly, making your site mobile-friendly will make your site accessible to a huge audience. By 2017, nearly 70% of the world’s population is expected to be able to access the Internet via smartphones.

That’s a pretty sizable potential audience for your business. Or not – depending upon the mobile-friendliness of your site.

 

*****

Chris Delker is a freelance copywriter based in Dallas, Texas.

How To Find The Right WordPress Theme

Written by Alex Ivanovs

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

How To Find The Right WordPress Theme

Having been a blogger for over a decade now, it has been a first-hand experience of how difficult it can be to maintain a WordPress theme to keep up with the latest standards and demands. Sometimes I would find myself switching styles as frequently as every few weeks, but time has taught me an invaluable lesson — stick to what works for everyone, not just you.

A good WordPress theme is one that serves the purpose of the website flawlessly, and the most important thing being the readability and accessibility of the content that you’re presenting. In my own experience, sometimes going through a hundred different designs might actually prove to be more rewarding than settling for a single theme you enjoy, since seeing more of what is out there — gives you an idea of which direction to take.

 

Free or Premium

The most important decision you’re going to make about your WordPress theme is whether you wish for it to be free or premium. The difference in overall design can be pretty staggering. And the biggest advantages premium has over free are:

  • It’s easier to switch styles and colors since most premium themes come with multiple styles.
  • Features such as related posts and social buttons are automatically integrated within the theme.
  • An extensive options panel that gives you access to modify the theme to your own liking, without any coding.

I’m currently a customer over at MH Themes who provide nice and flexible themes for bloggers, magazine owners and small businesses who need a reliable solution to modern web requirements. Before that, I was constantly a user of free themes (even though I do have coding skills), but found that a premium theme can save me a lot of time that could be spent making more content, than trying to optimize the site for it.

 

Personal or Business

One more thing I have learned to take into consideration is the overall audience of the blog/website that you’re building, is it going to be more of a personal blog that talks about your life and all the experiences you’re having, or is it going to be on a more business level — sharing stories and content that everyone can relate to?

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On the left side we have an example of a very simple and clean personal blog, no extra images or content, just a list of posts and that’s all. While on the right side we have an example of a magazine style blog, which is aimed at a global audience and is powered by all the latest gadgets of the web development world.

 

The Type of Content

I think this is the one where you will spend most of your time on, to find a theme that resonates with the type of content you want to produce the most. For list posts, roundups and similar content types — a simple blogging/magazine theme will be just fine, but what about themes that compliment proper and insightful storytelling?

Once Upon A Time

Then there are websites like BuzzFeed, who focus on both roundups and also polls, quizzes and surveys type of content. Before you settle for a final theme, ask yourself these important questions about your content choices, and whether the theme you’re choosing is going to be able to reflect those answers.

Amongst other things, look out for complete and total responsive integration (mobile support), make sure that the theme has been updated in the last year or so, that there are no previous security issues that might not have been taken care of, and avoid going for themes from shady and unverified sources, more often than not they’re polluted with encoded scripts that will rob you of your rankings and credibility.

 

*****

Alex Ivanovs is an online entrepreneur who has been writing about technology, business and developer topics for over a decade. He currently manages CodeCondo — an aspiring community for designers and developers.

5 Common Beginner WordPress Mistakes

Written by Kevin Wood

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

5 Common Beginner WordPress Mistakes

WordPress can be a great framework to build your first website with. However, since it’s a platform that has a relatively low barrier to entry a lot of beginners make the same mistakes. In order to avoid frustration in the early stages of your online career it’s important that you avoid these beginner mistakes.

In this post I’ll dive into the five most common WordPress mistakes you’ll want to avoid, so you can have a beautiful functioning site, instead of one that screams amateur.

 

1. Choosing A Poorly Coded Theme

When you’re trying to find the perfect theme for your website you’ll notice there are thousands of themes to choose from. How do you choose the correct theme? Sometimes you might come across a beautiful theme from an unknown developer that has very little reviews.

Even if the theme looks great it’s not recommended to use the theme. If you want to use a free theme it’s recommend to choose one from the WordPress approved list of developers.

However, the best course of action is to go with a premium theme. These themes might cost you a little money up front. But, with that cost you’ll also receive dedicated support in case anything goes wrong, and a host of upgraded features not available when using free themes.

 

2. Not Changing The Default Login Information

When you install WordPress you’ll be able to choose your username and password. The best way to prevent your site from being hacked is to use a strong password and username. Simple passwords, like your pets name, are not good enough.

The best passwords are those that use a combination of characters, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters. You can use a tool like, Passwords Generator to generate a very strong and complex password.

 

3. Forgetting Basic Page Elements

When you’re building out your website it’s easy to get carried away with all of the cool things you can do. However, it’s important not to neglect common website features.

For instance, every website needs a contact page and an about page. Without these elements there won’t be way for people to learn about what you do, or get in touch with you.

Make your site beautiful, but don’t forget the basics.

 

4. Not Changing Your Permalinks

Your site’s permalinks is the link structure of your URL. The default structure for your WordPress site, is usually something like ‘http://www.yourwebsite.com/?p=21′, rather than ‘http://www.yourwebsite.com/first-post’.

Luckily, making this change is simple, and it will give your URL’s a more memorable appearance.

Once inside your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Settings>Permalinks.

This will open up a window to change your settings. For most websites the fifth option ‘Post name’ will suffice. Check the box, click ‘Save Changes’ and you’re all set.

 

5. Failing To Use A SEO Plugin

Getting search engine traffic is a crucial aspect of any online business. However, if you’re not optimizing your posts and content properly, you could be missing out on potential traffic.

Luckily, there are a lot of plugins that make the process of SEO optimization very simple. All you have to do is install a plugin, such as, Yoast SEO, follow the steps and you’ll be set.

WordPress makes it easy to have a beautiful website up and running rather quickly. By avoiding the mistakes above you’ll be able to avoid most beginner pitfalls.

Why WordPress Is The Best Choice For Non-Technical Business Owners

Written by Kevin Wood

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Startup Stock Photos

When the time comes to create your website, you’re going to have no shortage of options to choose from. In fact, the decision-making process can be very overwhelming. It’s hard to cut though all of the marketing messaging to truly find a platform that works for you.

Luckily, there’s one platform that outshines most other platforms when it comes to an intuitive platform, that will help you build a beautiful website in no time at all. In this post we’re going to dive into why WordPress is the best choice for business owners with little to no technical know-how.

WordPress began as simple blogging software, but it has now grown into a full-fledged website builder with a massive and interactive community.

 

1. Easy To Use Backend

WordPress has a very easy to use backend. They’ve had the same backend for a number of years, which means there are a number of tutorials to guide you through anything you may be unsure of.

The backend is straightforward and doesn’t require any knowledge of code to actually customize the look of the theme as well as implement many additional features.

 

2. Small Learning Curve

Customizing your WordPress theme couldn’t be easier. Most themes also come with easy to follow documentation that will allow you to set up and populate your theme rather quickly.

A lot of other website building platforms require little technical knowledge to get up and running, but the curve increases very quickly. WordPress is easy to setup, and also requires little technical knowledge to customize.

 

3. Massive Theme Selection

There are literally thousands of WordPress themes available for you to download, both free and premium. The free themes are great for getting started, but if you really want to take your website to the next level you should consider upgrading to a premium theme.

Most premium themes cost less than $50 and can leave you with a truly customizable, professional website.

 

4. Great Plugin Selection

Plugins add increased functionality to your theme without having to outsource plugin creation, or invest a ton of money. There are thousands of WordPress plugins, both free and paid, that add things like increased payment support, homepage sliders, upgraded security and much more.

If you want to add a specific feature to your website chances are there’s a plugin for it.

 

5. Large Support Community

Since WordPress has been around for such a long time there a large dedicated support community. Most premium WordPress themes come with dedicated support, while the large free theme community has a very active user base.

If you keep running into a problem, chances are someone else has faced the same problem, and the solution already exists.

 

6. SEO Optimized

When you’re relying on search engine traffic to send you new customers, then your website must be optimized to rank. Luckily, most WordPress themes are primed to rank in the search engines right out of the box.

 

7. Very Inexpensive

Like we mentioned above you can get a WordPress theme up and running without too much of an investment on your end. Aside from purchasing a domain name and hosting, you can even get by with a free theme.

As you can see, WordPress is a great choice for business owners looking for a beautiful website without having to learn to code first.