Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by Kevin WoodCreating a landing page that works is easy, but creating a landing page that converts is going to take a little bit more work. In this post we’re going to examine what a landing page actually is, and how to build one that speaks to your customers and converts.
Monday, July 13, 2015 by Chris DelkerHow many plugins are available to WordPress users? A recent count put the number at nearly 40,000 plugins, most of them free. That places an astounding array of functionality at the fingertips of WordPress users. But not all plugins are created equal. Some are of more universal value than others. And while value is in the eye of the user, the Huffington Post recently published their take on the top 5 free WordPress plugins:
#1: Pretty LinkPretty Link helps you to "shrink, beautify, track, manage and share any URL on or off of your WordPress website." It's an elegant method of directing traffic to other sites as desired, or to other pages within your site. Both free versions and paid versions of the Pretty Link plugin are available.
#2: Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is an invaluable, free tool for measuring, tracking, and tweaking the performance of your website. And the Google Analytics plugin by Yoast makes it super simple to install GA on your WordPress site. This free plugin will deliver all of the benefits of GA, and has been installed on more than one million sites. And if you want some help with making the most of Google Analytics, there's also a premium version of this plugin available.
#3: WordPress SEO by YoastWordPress is a great content management platform for search engine optimization. But the Yoast plugin for SEO builds upon WordPress' compatibility with SEO. SEO is a constantly moving target. And staying in the good graces of the search engines requires great expertise - or the Yoast plugin. This plugin is typically updated several times per year to stay up-to-date with SEO best practices.
#4: SumoMeIt's bad news for a business website when most of the visitors are hit-and-run: they stop in for a brief visit and then flit away, never to return. But each visitor that arrives at your website represents an opportunity to cultivate a relationship, and eventually, a customer. The SumoMe plugin can help you to do that. SumoMe offers great value both for e-commerce sites and for bloggers.
Tip of the IcebergWith a field nearly 40,000 strong, there are certainly far more than 5 WordPress plugins that offer great value. And while the plugins listed above could be considered must-haves for most business sites, they represent only a tiny portion of a massive group of wonderfully useful plugins. Not all plugins are great, of course. Many aren't worth bothering with. But a fun aspect of managing a WordPress site is browsing through all the plugins available. If there's a job that needs doing on your WordPress site, odds are good that there's a great plugin ready to go to work for you - for free.
*****Chris Delker is a freelance copywriter based in Dallas, Texas.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 by Sean ValantWe are extremely happy to announce the launch of our Optimized WordPress hosting platform! WordPress is, quite frankly, one of the best back-ends for your website, period. This very blog you are reading runs on WordPress, and so do the websites for CNN, Forbes, and even Justin Beiber. We are experts on WordPress, and we've created a hosting package that we believe will actually simplify your life and allow you to focus on your business instead of on the management of your website. Optimized WordPress begins with a custom caching and global content delivery network (CDN), which allows for blazing fast page loads from anywhere int he world. You have access to premium WP themes in order to customize the look and feel of your site. We then pre-configure your WordPress install with the ideal suite of plugins to provide the perfect mix of additional features, including Google Analytics! We took everything a step further by also including industry-standard security features, daily malware scans and automatic malware removal, as well as automatic off-site backups (including one-click restores). We started with the idea of how to simplify your hosting experience so that you could instead spend your valuable time on your business or actual website content, and after months of development and testing, we are now proudly presenting Optimized WordPress hosting. There's many more features including in this great offering, you can find out the full information by simply clicking the button below:
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 by Chris DelkerThe 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 CarefullyAny 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 ThemeThe 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 ContentStructuring 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 PluginsOne 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 ImagesImages 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
- EWWW Image Optimizer
- PB Responsive Images
Step 6: TestOnce 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 EffortIt 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.