How To Integrate Your WordPress Website With Social Media Networks

How To Integrate Your WordPress Website With Social Media Networks

How To Integrate Your WordPress Website With Social Media Networks

One of the first things you should do when setting up your WordPress website or blog is to integrate with your preferred Social Media networks. This means configuring your site to connect with your Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest, etc., which you should already have in place. If not, go ahead and set those up so you can integrate them as soon as possible.

This step is extremely vital to your website or blog because in enables visitors to share and like your content on popular social networks. This in turn can have a major impact on your traffic, and the success of your business. Because of this, we put together this short, straight to the point post to help you integrate your WordPress website or blog with your Social Networks.

WordPress makes this really easy; there are a variety of social media plugins and options for sharing your content with the world.  Many WordPress themes also come with social integration built in.  But even better still, you can connect your WordPress site with all of your social media accounts right from your WP dashboard.

Integrating With Social Platforms

One of the most highly rated, easy ways to integrate your WordPress website or blog with recommended social media platforms is to use the “Publicize” feature in the free Jetpack plugin. This will allow you to connect to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, with the click of a button. It also does much more, allowing you to save time with automatic sharing features. With Jetpack and Publicize enabled, information about newly published posts on your blog will be automatically posted to your social media accounts.

To set up Publicize and start sharing your content, you first need to get the plugin.   Go to Plugins>Add Plugin>, use the search field and type “Jetpack”, locate the Jetpack plugin, and install it.

Next, go to Jetpack>Settings to enable Publicize.

*Note: You must link your site to your WordPress.com account to enable Jetpack Publicize, and use the sharing settings. If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, follow this link to get one; it’s free.

Lastly, go to: Settings>Sharing to add sharing buttons to your pages and posts, your screen should look something like this:

How To Integrate Your WordPress Website With Social Media Networks

Simply click the little “Connect” buttons next to your preferred Social Networking sites, and follow the on-screen directions to login to each and integrate them with your site.

You can also ensure that each peice of content you post is shared automatically with your networks. Automatic sharing can be enabled in the page editor when you publish new content. At the top right hand corner of the page editor, in the “Publish” box, select the platforms you want to automatically post to under “Publicize:”, then publish the page, as you can see below.

Wordpress Social Integration

Simple, easy, fast – but it can have such big benefits for your website or blog, your business, that it may seem too easy! Although we are sure you can find other important things to do with the time you save making sure your content goes out over your Social Networks.

We hope this little tutorial has been helpful to you. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, and join our RSS feed for new information each week. Until next time, enjoy creating a website or blog you can be proud of!

How To Integrate Your WordPress Website With Social Media Networks

Western Slope Web Design Co’s New Digital Media Educational Materials

Western Slope Web Design Co’s New Digital Media Educational Materials

Western Slope Web Design Co’s New Digital Media Educational Materials

Hello everyone, we hope you are having a wonderful summer, enjoying the sun, and the fun!

If you have been getting out for some well deserved “away time”, that’s great! Since we know everyone will be heading back in doors soon to prepare for the upcoming Holiday Season, we wanted to take a minute to update you on Western Slope Web Design Co’s New Digital Media Educational Courses, which we will be releasing shortly on various platforms across the internet.

As you may have noticed, some things around Western Slope Web Design Co have changed; we have transitioned to creating and distributing Digital Downloadable Media products and materials to help you succeed with your website or blog…well, your whole web presence actually.

We know how tough it can be for micro to small business owners to create their own online presence, websites, and blogs, and we commend you all for your hard work and dedication. We want to help you as much as possible, so we will be creating an exciting video training course to help you with that within the next year or so…who knows, maybe even sooner! But in the meantime, we have carefully planned our training courses to “cover all the bases”; later on we will compile all of this into that BIG training course we mentioned, for well rounded, professional instruction on pretty much every important aspect of your website or blog!

As most of you probably already know, we don’t believe that beautifully functional websites should have to cost a fortune, or take months or years to achieve. In fact, we know they don’t. So in all of our products, we will be teaching you the best, most affordable ways to create those fabulous websites and blogs, for whatever purpose, as well as cost effective and FREE ways to promote your sites, and much more! And of course, e-Learning makes it inherently easier to get the information and training you need, because you can work on the course whenever you have the time. (And don’t forget, if you have a business, these training products are tax deductible!)

We believe that the best way to create a successful online presence, is by utilizing the inherent knowledge of the particular business already in the possession of you, the small business owner. You know your business best; the persona you want your business to impart to your online audience, customers, and clients, as well as the environment in which your business operates. This is the best information one can have when creating a successful online presence. And that means more than just your website or blog.

We work hard to develop essential training for those who wish to DIY, to save time and money, or simply to retain vital control of your online presence. We know you can do it with the right training, and information, and we are here to help. If you are such a person, then our products are sure to be a valuable resource in your toolbox.

We are proud to announce our up and coming, professionally designed, digital training courses. These initial offerings are designed to help you with two important aspects of online business; Content Marketing, and Branding.

Content Marketing Crash Course eBookContent Marketing Crash Course is the first in a series of training courses designed to help you promote your site, keep in Googles’ good graces, and attract, engage, retain, and convert visitors.

The eBook Course includes the Content Marketing Crash Course eBook, with our Content Writing  Guide to help you learn how to write faster, and more effectively. These essential eBook guides are available to Western Slope Web Design Co visitors and readers, right here on our site, so grab your Content Marketing Package Today at Our Limited Time Special Discount Price of just $27! 

Just click the text link above for more information, or click the Paypal button below to purchase & download instantly…

We also some other great training courses to help you on your way!

Branding Crash Course 2017Our Branding Crash Course “Branding For Beginners Complete How To Guide” is the second of our training courses developed by Western Slope Web Design Co Owner/Founder, Tina Barnash. This course addresses the “branding issue” which runs rampant among hard working small businesses. Learn how to create your very own, attention grabbing brand, without the expense, time, and frustration of hiring, and working with a professional designer.

The eBook course is designed to help you plan your strategy, and create your own effective brand, in less than a week (if you apply yourself). Of course, we cannot guarantee what you will do with the information in this course, so we cannot possibly guarantee any particular time frame for completing your brand, but we can assure you that the techniques and information in this course has helped us to help others create their brands, and this will be another important addition to your toolbox!

This essential Branding eCourse is available at our new online store Video Graphics Edge, where you can grab your copy right now!  But don’t forget to Subscribe To Our Newsletter, and Visit Our Blog for updates about great new educational products from Western Slope Web Design Co.!

We hope to see you there soon,

As Always,

Learn, Explore, and Enjoy!

– Western Slope Web Design Co.

Western Slope Web Design Co’s New Digital Media Educational Materials

What Should You Do If You Lost Search Traffic?

What Should You Do If You Lost Search Traffic?

What Should You Do If You Lost Search Traffic?

As you may already know, there’s been a lot of upset in the online world this past year over the new Google algorithms and updates. Lots of businesses have seen their organic online traffic practically disappear overnight, and their sales subsequently plummet. Even websites that had been playing their cards right with entirely white hat SEO practices have suffered a drastic loss in traffic once Google set their updated crawlers loose upon the web. And the dust still hasn’t settled yet. So What Should You Do If You Lost Your Search Traffic?

Well, those who are familiar with online business know that things change fast, and they change often. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Popularity of platforms, social networks, marketplaces and strategies shift, and you’ll have to be on your toes. But no matter the changes, the ups and downs, the name of the game is still the same. Your business needs traffic to stay afloat, and to grow.

Despite how bleak things may seem from time to time, there are always ways to breathe new life into your Internet Marketing Strategy. Even if search ranks fail, other traffic sources are available to capitalize on, new ones are sure to turn up, and SEO can still yield great results.

In fact, if you have lost search ranks and traffic there are some things you can do to help get them back. So let’s take a look at some things you can do to regain lost search engine traffic first.

Top Google Search SEO Tips

The first two common mistakes that micro to small businesses are currently making are actually pretty simple to fix. Well, easier than you had most likely thought anyway. And these fixes can have a big impact on getting your website back in the good graces of Google.

1.  Secure Your Site With An SSL

Despite the fact that Google search crawlers now preference web properties that are secured with an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) over those without, experts report that roughly half of all websites and blogs have installed SSL certificates on their sites.

Now, if you are not familiar with SSL, this is a layer of security that helps protect your visitors’ information when they visit your site. Regardless of whether they are just entering their name and email to sign up for your newsletter, or are entering sensitive financial information during checkout, this is a critical layer of security every website and blog should have. And Google has simply made it a necessity in order to be considered worthy of top search ranks.

On the bright side, now that an SSL is an essential must have for any website or blog, most hosting companies have started offering a free SSL with their hosting packages. And most hosts will install the certificate for you, although you may have to do some finish work on your site afterwards to force your site and pages over the SSL so they are secure.

For instance, you will need to install a plugin on your WordPress site to complete the installation. But that’s not too difficult; just look for the top-rated SSL or https plugin and follow the instructions to set it up. And don’t forget to change your site address to https instead of http in your general settings.

2. Make Your Site Mobile Responsive

Another important requirement you really need to pay attention to is the mobile responsiveness of your site or blog. Over half of your traffic these days will come from mobile devices; some experts say over 65%. It can depend on your target demographic and niche as well. Some may experience higher volumes of mobile views while others get fewer mobile views. But it’s still going to be a bigger and bigger portion of your traffic as time goes on, so you need to sort this out anyway.

Depending on your CMS, the content management system and framework your website is built on, you may not have much work to do. Platforms like Wix and Shopify ensure that your site is mobile responsive by default, though you may need to install an app to make this function work.

But if you are using a platform like WordPress, ensuring that your site displays beautifully across all mobile devices, it may require a bit more effort. Still, it’s not too difficult to get on track. You can use the popular WP VC Composer plugin to make your site responsive. (I’ll be doing a video tutorial to show you exactly how to set up your pages with VC Composer soon, so be sure to follow my blog here and check back again shortly.)

And if you are open to switching themes, there are a lot of themes like Soledad or Rehub that feature lots of great looking, modern design options and come bundled with VC Composer.

Either way, it’s a top priority to make your site mobile responsive…as fast as you can!

3. Watch Out For Duplicate Content

Another common issue is duplicate content. Google has also made it clear that it does not like duplicate content, opting instead to preference “distinct” content. And it’s not just to make things difficult for online businesses; people don’t like reading the same exact information over and over again. And duplicate content gets into copyright infringement issues as well. So it’s best not to have this type of content on your site anyway. But this issue alone can send your site into a downward spiral to oblivion in search ranks.

So how can you check your site for duplicate content? Try this helpful tool at Siteliner; you can get a free analysis of your site and it will even show you what areas of your site contain duplicate content, so that you can fix it.

If you discover that it is your own content causing the duplicate issues, you may need to use “canonical tags” to help reduce those duplicate red flags. Canonical tags are a popular tool in the SEO world, but not so difficult to work with as you may think. So if your site analysis is coming up with duplicate content from your own pages, be sure to read Google’s helpful information on canonical tags here.

And last but not least, you should protect your content so that others cannot steal it. There is nothing so frustrating as creating amazing unique content, only to have people come by your site, copy it and use it on their website or blog. This will most definitely result in your own content being proclaimed “duplicate content”. While you can always notify Google that someone else is using your content and try to have it removed, its best to simply secure your content to help ensure that you avoid this issue altogether. Make sure that your sites’ content is right click protected to ward off lazy, would be copy and paste content thieves!

4. On Page SEO

Though it’s been said a zillion times, on page SEO is a must to mention here as well. This is the information that you can put into your articles, pages and posts that will help search engines index and sort your content, thereby helping your audience find your valuable content. We went into this in detail, with step by step instructions in an earlier blog post, so we won’t go into it further here.

You can also boost the rank of your website as a whole using a number of optimization techniques; like building high authority backlinks, and optimizing your sites post pages for social sharing!

Other Traffic Sources To Capitalize On

Just because Google may have knocked your site back to page 10 in search ranks doesn’t mean you can’t get your traffic back. And you should definitely do all you can to get as much organic search traffic as possible. But there are other traffic sources you can use that can be quite lucrative as well. Let’s take a look at some of these other options.

5. How Social Networking Can Help Recoup Your Traffic

Social Networking is a great way to reach your target demographic, increase awareness of your brand, and drive traffic to your site. And as to be expected, Social Media Marketing has become an even more popular traffic source than ever before since the Google search changes and updates. Again, some businesses may see more benefit than others from Social Media Marketing, and some platforms may be better for your particular needs than others. To avoid wasting time and effort, just make sure to assess which social platforms will work best for you and plan your strategy well. Social Networking is a big boost for most businesses, so be sure to get your Social accounts set up and network!

6. YouTube Videos

YouTube can be so beneficial for your brand awareness and traffic that it merits its own mention here. Posting videos with instructions on how to use your product, how to troubleshoot your product, information about your company, or anything related to your niche or industry, can have a major impact on your traffic. Even if it’s purely for entertainments sake, you can drum up a lot of interest with YouTube videos, and it’s about the best way to engage and connect with your audience that you can get.

People love to see helpful information displayed in video; after all, who doesn’t like to watch interesting videos. While written content will always be critical for attracting search engines and people do still want to read, video is a massively popular way to attract attention to your business, products and services.

You don’t have to have an expensive camera or studio either; your mobile device camera will do. Just be real with your audience and give them content that has value on a regular basis. Just like every other aspect of your web presence, perceived value is key-so give your audience value they can see!

7. Written Content Is Essential

That’s right, while video can get you fantastic results, written content will remain vital to your web presence for the foreseeable future. Perhaps it will remain so forever. Either way, you need to be posting fresh, new written content all the time. You should put up at least 1 new post per week; 2-3 is better. However, the more content you create the more you’ll see your business grow, so you certainly shouldn’t put a cap on your content. Create as much as you can!

Make sure you include images with your posts or articles. And be sure that your static web pages have loads of unique, conversational, informative content too. If you have trouble writing don’t let that stop you. It is easy to learn how to write tons of great content, you just need the right system to set your “inner writer” free! If you need help with that we have a wonderful new eBook that will show you how to write like a pro here…

For more information about Content Marketing and Content Writing, including detailed information about the topics we’ve discussed here today, be sure to check out the all New Content Marketing Crash Course Package here – you’ll be glad you did.

Until next time, work on fixing any of these issues you may have, create loads of great content and enjoy sharing with your audience. It’s the surest way to gain valuable traffic!

What Should You Do If You Lost Search Traffic?

20 Steps To Creating Best Selling Digital Information Products – Free For A Limited Time

20 Steps To Creating Best Selling Digital Information Products – Free For A Limited Time

20 Steps To Creating Best Selling Digital Information Products – Free For A Limited Time

Free for a Limited Time you can get the All New “20 Steps To Creating Best Selling Digital Information Products” Guide. We’re giving you this amazing guide to quick and easy Digital Information Product creation as our gift to you!

Find out exactly how to make your own info products, much easier than you probably thought you could.

Not only do these products offer you the benefit of one time product creation of a valuable downloadable media product you can sell again and again, but you can use your Digital products to attract visitors to your website, blog, social media, and spice up your entire web presence.

And local service businesses, and small businesses that find it hard to get physical products can gain a supplemental, or even replacement income stream, so you can work smarter, not harder!

You don’t have to be an expert on a topic to make money selling information about it. Especially if you are creating products designed to help people with problems related to ones you usually fix for them, you’ve got all the information you need to create digital information products people will buy.

The internet is still the best place to sell information, with Amazon and Kindle marketplaces available to sell your products. Amazon is taking in more than 60% of online sales, and a lot of that is for information products.

Digital products can help you position yourself as an authority on the subject, even within the industry. So they are great for business no matter what you use them for.

If you have a membership site, you can use the products you create to provide exclusive content for your paid members, and these products are even great for turning your drab old newsletter into information packed good reads!

Or, you can break your products up to create email courses you can sell too.

For more information about what digital information products are, whay you want to get into them fast, and how to boost your local service business using these easy to make products, click here>>

To download your free copy you’ll be directed to our new shop, Video Graphics Edge! Get 20 Steps To Creating Best Selling Digital Information Products [Click Here Now] Don’t wait, this guide will only be free for a limited time!

 

Free Blurred Backgrounds for Your Website or Blog

Free Blurred Backgrounds for Your Website or Blog

Free Blurred Backgrounds for Your Website or Blog

Selecting the right background for your website can be a daunting task, but taking the time to find the right one can create results that are well worth the effort! These Free Blurred Backgrounds for Your Website or Blog may help you get your site up to date with a unique example of the latest in trendy web-wear:

Blurred Backgrounds

Free Blurred Backgrounds for Your Website or BlogThis popular website or blog background style is all the rage these days, and there is more than one reason for the recent success of blurred backgrounds. To make a long story short; initially most everyone used a solid color background or a patterned background for their website or blog. Eventually these solid colors and patterns gave way to full color image backgrounds, mostly because new web design capabilities came about to facilitate the use of these backgrounds successfully. (That was great because everybody had become bored with the solid backgrounds anyway.) So, you started seeing lots of full color, busy background images on websites. However, the popularity these types of backgrounds, like crisp landscape and photo images has withdrawn a bit in favor of less busy and distracting blurred versions, like the Free Blurred Backgrounds you see here.

 

Why Blurred Website Backgrounds?

A good blurred website background can swiftly and easily impart a unique look and feel, while allowing your content and images to stand out attractively.  Though there are of course other details included a site that determine the “wow factor” as well, the background can have a big impact, as it helps to set the mood of the site and determine the color palate as well. But regardless of how high you value your background, if this choice is right for your site, making a change to a current web favorite is generally a good bet. And of course, there is nothing better than something you get for free, especially when you can get quality, Free Blurred Backgrounds!

Free Blurred Backgrounds for Your Website or Blog

These blurred backgrounds are created using digital photography combined with careful selection of a subject found only in the great outdoors. They are available in popular colors to suit the needs of most websites and/or blogs. The Free Blurred Backgrounds in this post are samples from our various blurred background packages which you can purchase in our shop, and you may download them and use them free of charge for any personal or commercial web project. Simply click on an image to view the full size background, right click and save!

Blurred Background Blue Black Free

Free Blurred Backgrounds for Your Website or Blog

On Page SEO

On Page SEO

On Page SEO

On Page SEO helps to ensure that your post or page gets optimal search results with the search engines, primarily Google. Search crawlers will look for this information in your post to index the page and determine where it will be placed in search results. (Search result position can change up or down over time regardless of On Page SEO quality.) Though there are more On Page SEO techniques that can be used to increase your chances of good search results, the following On Page SEO Guide includes the basic techniques that should be used on every post. Follow the instructions below to ensure basic optimization of your posts.

  1. Title: Your keyword or keyword phrase must appear in the title. Be sure to go to Google Keyword Planner Tool and research your keyword or keyword phrase. It is best to use keywords or keyword phrases that get more than 2000 searches per month.
  2. Be sure that your keyword or keyword phrase appears in the URL of the page. WordPress populates this from the text you insert in the Title area of the page, however, if it does not display correctly you can manually change it by clicking “Edit” next to the “Permalink” field just under the page title.
  3. Keyword Density: According to SEO experts, Yoast, keword density should be between 0.5 – 2.5%; however, best post Panda practices require conversational content. This means avoiding “keyword” stuffing (never a good idea to begin with), by using synonyms which are now recognized in Google search algorithms. Using synonyms will produce the optimal, conversational content now demands.
  4. Make sure that your keyword appears in the first 25 words of your first paragraph, and in the last sentence of the page. This usage comprises 2 counts of keyword density usage, after which you can sprinkle synonyms throughout the rest of the content. But since Google now recognizes and indexes on the basis of context rather than just keywords, it’s arguably fine to simply make sure that your content reads well. Theoretically anyway, Google will be happy.
  5. Keyword Styling: Once you have used your keyword be sure to go back through your text and “bold” the first and last instances of your keyword, then “bold” or “italic” the rest. Either way, make sure that every use of your exact keyword or phrase is emphasized in some manner.
  6. Headings “h titles”:Now you will need to place your “h titles” or “h tags”. These html headings are used by search crawlers to determine the relevance of your content to the search terms or keyword. WordPress automatically tags your post title as H1, so there is no need to use this tag. Use the remaining tags as follows:
    • H2 Heading: Place your Keyword or phrase at the top of your page text, highlight the keyword and select “Heading 2” from the Styling dropdown menu just above the content window. (See image below.) Repeat this at the very bottom of your page after all other text.
    • H3 Heading: Use the h3 tag for supportive keywords, at the beginning of new relevant paragraphs. I.E. If you main keyword is “Dog Clothes” then your h3 tag would be “Tweed Coat”, or “Dog Dress”.
    • Subsequent H Headings; h4, h5, and h6 should be used in this same manner as need for supportive keywords, but I prefer to use them only if there are multiple supportive keywords that correspond with paragraphs of text, multiple sub-topics, or if the text in the post exceeds around 1200 words.

     7. Anchor Link/Text Links: There should be at least one internal text link to another page on your blog or site. This is known as an anchor link, and it is best when it contains relevant keywords or a keyword phrase linking to relevent information on your site. Simply highlight a portion of text that is relevant to the page you are linking to, click on the hyperlink icon in the toolbar and insert the URL into the popup window, then click save.

     8. Image Alt Tags: Images are not just a powerful Content Marketing tool, they are also a useful part of your on page SEO. We make them visible to search engines and sites like Bing by using the image alt tag as follows:

  • Name your image with your target keyword or keyword phrase followed by a number or letter and save it to your computer in a file designated for your site images.
  • In your post pane place your cursor in the area of the body/text that you want the image to appear, then click “Add Media” from the toolbar above.
  • Upload the image and make sure to copy and paste the exact keywords minus the added number or letter into the “Alt Text” field located at the right of the upload window. (If you don’t see the sidebar, be sure you have selected the preferred image in the pane to the left.)
  • Click Save.

View the image below for the location of some of the WP post tools mentioned above.

On Page SEO

 

Once you are finished completing the On Page SEO as described above, and you are satisfied with your post, click on “Publish”, then preview to make sure the post looks the way you want it to. Be sure to go back and edit any errors you find, then click “Publish” when finished. If you have used this guide to upgrade or update your on page SEO on your site, be sure to have Google crawl your updated pages via Google Web Master Tools.

Some of the On Page SEO, such as h tags, will affect the visual layout of your content a bit. However, you must keep in mind that these are very important aspects in getting your posts searched, so don’t be tempted to leave them out. Be sure to save your work frequently by clicking on “save draft” to avoid losing any work you have done.

When properly researched and applied to your posts, your keyword usage combined with On Page SEO will ensure that your content gets optimal search results for your keywords. Just make sure your copy is fresh, well organized, and relevant, and both your readers and the search engines will love it!

Updated 4/20/2017

On Page SEO

Be sure to Bookmark Our Blog and check back for more great tips and helpful web design information!

Things You Should Know About Your Website Before You Build

Things You Should Know About Your Website Before You Build

Things You Should Know About Your Website Before You Build

If you are reading this post, chances are you have either been looking into having a website built, or you are thinking about doing so in the near future. But before you go rushing off to find a web designer, there are a few Things You Should Know About Your Website Before You Build.

The process of having a website built is notoriously frustrating and stressful; however, a lot of the reason for this may very well be due to some simple misunderstandings and lack of knowledge on the behalf of those seeking to gain an online presence. This is not to say that you should already know these things, after all why would you? However, when seriously considering your website project, having a full understanding of the basic mechanics of a website is the best way to prevent your project from turning into a long, confusing nightmare, and will also enable you to better adjust and maintain your site, or oversee this process in the future. This is the reason for this post, to clear things up for you a bit.

Of course you don’t need to know how to design and develop a website, that is what you hire a professional designer for, but there are some Things You Should Know About Your Website Before You Build. There is a relatively small learning curve involved here, but don’t get overwhelmed, just take it one step at a time and you will be up to speed in no time!

Here we will discuss one of the first misunderstandings that people often experience when building a website; the difference between design and development, and how they work together to create a fully functional website.

Web Design

What you actually see when you view a website is the design of the site. The colors, banner images, background image, text layout, fonts, navigation menu appearance, etc. determine the look and feel of the site. Web Design is also where your branding comes in to play, and calls to action are present if preferred. This is where you present your readers with the best possible representation of your company, in an organized and professional manner.

Web Development

Web Development is what goes on in the background that makes a site function, like when you click on a button or an image, the elements of the site that enable it to be searched online and draw traffic, connect with social media accounts, and function as a web presence that will be beneficial rather than just beautiful.

You may not be aware of all of this when you search for something online and view a website, but for the sake of your own business website, you should know that these are the elements that brought you to the site in the first place. Without development, all you have is a pretty website that no one is likely to ever see.
(The image below is a snapshot of our old website homepage, but it will do to illustrate here; the little window offset to the right is the code that your computer “sees” and uses to display the site, showing the difference between what you see when you look at your site online, and the background work that goes in to getting your site developed.)

Things You Should Know About Your Website Before You Build 2

By now you may be thinking “But I thought that is what I hire a web professional for…” and you are correct to a certain degree, but let’s trying thinking along these lines for moment.

A Helpful Little Analogy…

Assuming that you fully understand that your website is actually a piece of online real estate, with the capability of becoming a real asset to your business and eventually possessing a cash value, we can equate your website to a brand new, brick and mortar facility.

For simplicity’s’ sake, let’s say this facility is a warehouse for a product, with a shipping department in place to ship out orders, and basic employee areas. Naturally, unless that is your profession, you will hire a contractor to construct this warehouse. The decision maker(s) in this process will need to know the equipment requirements, storage requirements, and other required aspects of the facility, and will need to know how to use this equipment as well. (If you have personnel to handle this aspect of your business, then they should be reading this too.) You don’t need to know everything about how this facility is built, your contractor will take care of that, but you will need to know what facility features your business needs.

In order to get your needs fulfilled, you will have to fully and accurately inform the contractor of your requirements, providing for instance the size of the facility, volume requirements, potential for an increase in volume in the future, equipment load requirements, employee restroom/washroom, capacity, etc.

Now imagine contacting a contractor to have this building constructed, without being able to provide this information…you see where this is going. It could take years for the contractor to get this facility up for you, and in all likelihood you won’t end up with a facility that fits your needs if they were getting this information here and there in an unorganized, poorly thought out, uninformed manner. It will also make things more confusing if there are several different people working on the project, so the fewer channels there are to go through, the better. This applies to both ends of the project.

That being said, you must also understand that the “If you build it, they will come.” theory rarely ever works in the online world, if anywhere for that matter. Successful websites take time, thought, and serious hard work to achieve. The more of this you have done when you contact a web designer/developer, the smoother, and faster your site construction is likely to be, and you will cut back on wasted time (money), confusion, and frustration.

The bottom line: Take some time to think about how you want your website or blog to look, and determine the basic functionality requirements for the site. You don’t need to have everything all decided; simply take a look at some competitors sites, take some snapshots of features you would like to include on your own site, and have a good idea of the basic ways your site needs to function.

Now that you understand some of the Things You Should Know About Your Website Before You Build, here is a list of some basic materials related to development that your website will require, and are best to have ready when you go in search of a web designer/developer.

  1. Keywords (Keyword Research) – You will need to do some keyword research to determine your keywords or keyword phrases; these are the terms, related to your niche or industry, that your readers will be searching for to find you. Be sure to think from the point of view of your readers when determining your keywords, you want the terms they will be looking for, not necessarily the industry terms you and your competitors use. You should have 6 main keywords or keyword phrases for your home page initially, and at least one supportive keyword or phrase for each page of your site. If you are going for a specific niche, then you may want your keywords to be more specifically targeted. You can easily research your keywords using the Google Keyword Tool.
  2. Content – This is the text, the written information that will be placed on your site pages to inform your readers of what your site is about, but it is also one of the key components that search engines look for when indexing your site. Though it may be difficult up front to know exactly what pages you will need content for, it is best to have at least 950 words of relevant content for your homepage, and at least 450 words of content pertaining to any subsequent pages and keywords on your website that you are aware of. Having this information ready for your designer will save you loads of time and frustration, and is generally best compiled by someone who knows your business and industry very well.
  3. Images – These are of course part of the design of the site, but they are also a key component in development as well, and for one reason; your images should be tagged behind the scenes in a manner that adds supportive criteria that search engines will be looking for in conjunction with your other developmental components. You may have images in your header banner and in your background, but each page of your site should have at least one image in the body of the page (i.e. the content area of the page) for search purposes as well. These images not only help search engines to index your site, they can also show up on sites such as Bing, and on Google Images, linking readers directly to your site!
  4. Social Media – If you already have social media accounts set up, such as a Facebook page, Linkedin, or Twitter account, you should have a list of links to these accounts to provide your web designer/developer.

Things You Should Know About Your Website Before You Build

Along with the design materials for your website, having these on hand will enable your website project to go much smoother, greatly reduce the amount of time (money) it will take to complete your website, and help ensure that your website will suit your needs when completed.

At the very least, having a basic understanding of the requirements of your website will help cut back on confusion and frustration during the construction process. Thus, even if you don’t have these materials ready at the onset of your website construction, you won’t be caught off guard when your designer/developer requests these materials, or requests information in order to compile them for you. You will also understand why your designer/developer needs these materials in order to construct your site.

There are of course other aspects of your website that you will need to cover during the construction, but these basic Things You Should Know About Your Website Before You Build should get you off to a good, healthy start with your development!

Things You Should Know About Your Website Before You Build

Common HTML Codes That Come In Handy When Building Your WordPress Website

Common HTML Codes That Come In Handy When Building Your WordPress Website

Common HTML Codes That Come In Handy When Building Your WordPress Website

With the availability of great WordPress themes and page builders, and the styling and other tools available in the WordPress page editor, you may think you really don’t need to worry too much about HTML these days. However, there are still times when HTML is needed. Perhaps you are utilizing the free WordPress platform to create a promotional blog for your business. Maybe you are using another site builder like Weebly, or have otherwise run into another instance where you need to know some code. In these cases you may need some Common HTML Codes That Come In Handy When Building Your WordPress Website. And then too, if you operate a website or blog online, it never hurts to know some basics.

Common HTML Codes That Come In Handy When Building Your WordPress Website

Mostly pertaining to text styling, the following codes are commonly used to create the look you want when setting up the content of your pages and posts. Remember, if you find yourself in need of some HTML code for your site, go to W3Schools where you can look up anything you need and learn how to do it – for free! This includes HTML5, JS, and css as well.

*Before We Get Started Please Note: All html codes must be closed, just like you would close a sentence. Otherwise the styling you enter will continue throughout the rest of the page. To best demonstrate this, we will take a bold styling for instance; the following code <strong> will bold the text after it, and you must place this code </strong> to close the bold styling. Codes that use <span> must be closed with </span>  and so on.  Also, note that html code can only be used where html access to the page is available. In wordpress you can access this by selecting the “text” tab right next to the “visual” tab in the upper right hand corner of your page or post editor. In Weebly, make sure you are in an html element, and html can also be used to style text in elements like the “caption” field of the images editor when you upload an image.

Text Styling Codes

Bold Text

<strong>This text will be bold.</strong>

*Note: the old <b> code command should no longer be used.

Text Size Code (Large):
This code will style your text to the size indicated in the code.

<span style=”font-size: large;”>Text Here</span>

<span style=”font-size: x-large;”>Text Here</span>

<span style=”font-size: xx-large;”>Text Here</span>

*Note that “large” can be replaced with “small” for smaller text.

Text Color Code:

This will cause your text to appear in the color indicated in the code.

<span style=”color: orange;”>Text Here</span>

*Note that “orange” can be replaced with other true colors like red, blue, and green. You may also use color codes in place of the color name, like so: #001029. To find the code for a specific color, consult W3Schools’ color picker here>>

Combine Text Size & Color Code:

<span style=“verdana” color=“green”>This is some text!</span>

Page Jump Code

This code creates a “jump link” to another portion of the page or to another page on the site.

For the Link: <a href=”#unique-identifier”>Click Me</a>

(Replace unique-idendifier with your location, like “#references”)

For the destination: <a id=”unique-identifier”>Text</a>

(Replace unique-idendifier with your location, removing the # symbol, like this: “references”.)

Click Me, and Text can be replaced with any text. (Example: >See Our References<)

Text & Image Link Codes

You should not need these very often, as image and text links can be easily inserted using the WP page editor tools, but again, it never hurts to know the basics. For this reason I have included basic link codes.

Text Link Code:

<a href=”http://www.domain.com/page/”>Text Here</a>

Image Link Code:

<a href=”https://domain.com/image file”><img src=”smiley.gif” alt=”Example” width=”300″ height=”300″>

Insert Image Code:

<img src=”smiley.gif” alt=”Example” width=”300″ height=”300″>

Try these codes out on a page and see what you can create! You will see that it is not that difficult, and you will feel a bit more comfortable having acquired some new skills!

You may want to copy these codes and save them to a document for easy access just in case you need them, and be sure to check back for updates on this list of Common HTML Codes That Come In Handy When Building Your WordPress Website. If you come across a code you think should be on this list, be sure to leave your suggestion in the comment section!

Common HTML Codes That Come In Handy When Building Your WordPress Website


Grunge Backgrounds For Web Projects

Grunge Backgrounds For Web Projects

Grunge Backgrounds For Web Projects

Grunge Backgrounds For Web ProjectsUsing Grunge Backgrounds For Web Projects has become a popular way give websites and blogs a gritty, edgy look and feel. These graphics make grime look good, so its little wonder we find awesome looking Grunge style graphics adorning music, gaming, and fashion sites, as well as certain types of personal blogs. We like them too, and are impressed at how well they impart the perfect atmosphere to those sites.

Grunge backgrounds and graphics tend to be boldly colored and crisp, with random, roughly shaped lines, shapes, streaks, smudges, blotches, and spots, so they may not be the right move for many sites where the emphasis needs to be placed elsewhere. But when the look is appropriate, they can have a huge impact on the popularity of the site, complementing the content and imagery in perfect fashion.

Grunge Backgrounds Bubbles Speaking of fashion, grunge backgrounds can do an amazing job of creating a trendy, boutique atmosphere for modern clothing sites that sell the latest in youth or young adult fashions, as well as online music shops. We have also visited a good number of interesting personal blogs that utilize this style successfully, setting just the right tone for their visitors.  For those who would like to incorporate the grunge look into their site, but are worried about overpowering their content, we have noted that a muted version of a grunge image does the job beautifully.

Quick Tip: If you purchased a bold background and would like to tone it down, simply take the graphic into an image editing program, like Photoshop, or try the free one here. Create a new layer over the image, and fill it with white at 50% (you can adjust the percentage to achieve the desired look). If this comes out looking a bit off, try picking the lightest color from the image with the eyedropper (color picker tool), and fill with that color instead for a more coordinated look.

Working to offer a lot more goodies in Our Shop, we recently got side-tracked on grunge style imagery! So, we now have some great Grunge Backgrounds For Web Projects available there.

Grunge Bubble Website BackroundsWe found that the grunge style works wonderfully with just about every color combination you can think of, but prefer the more dowered hues ourselves. That didn’t stop us from creating bold, beautiful jewel tone Grunge Backgrounds For Web Projects, along with the more ‘toned down’ ones. Bubbles and other 3D objects can also be a great way to enhance grunge graphics. If you are looking for a new background for your site or blog, and have decided to go with grunge style graphics, you may want to take a look!

Be sure to join us again in the near future, as we continue to add new background images, graphics, and other great products to our shop.

Don’t forget to check our blog for web design tips, tricks, and tutorials, along with other related articles.

Grunge Backgrounds For Web Projects

4 Tech Support Hacks

4 Tech Support Hacks

4 Tech Support Hacks

Perhaps you remember playing “phone” with a friend when you were a little kid; you know, two tin cans with a string attached between them, you go in two separate rooms and try to get a message back and for the to each other? Well, sometimes talking to tech support can make you feel like that little kid again, trying to get a message across to someone with nothing but two cans and a string.

Of course, when it’s your business on the line instead of just wasting a rainy afternoon, there is nothing fun about it. We’ve all been there, more than we care to admit, so we wanted to share 4 Tech Support Hacks to help out next time you need one of those potentially frustrating, pesky support sessions.

Regardless of whether you choose to reach this assistance by phone, chat, or email, it helps to know some of the best ways to go about it in order to get the best results. Though service providers spend a good deal of time and money training their support personnel, for one reason or another one may find it occasionally difficult to get the gist of their problem or question across to the person on the other end of the line, and get the answers or help they need.

After many years of working with various service providers, and literally countless hours on the phone or chat with various support agents, we have noticed that these methods work quite well to yield the best results. At the very least they will go a long way towards a less stressful, more productive support session. So without further ado, here we go!

1.  Be organized. Speaking with tech support is a lot like ordering fast food. What do we mean by that? Well, when you pull up to the drive through, you should have your order ready. At the drive thru, things will go a lot smoother if you have your order already lined out in your head, and you don’t throw any potentially misleading or confusing information in there. Your order should go something like this: “Two # 3’s (Bacon Cheeseburger) one with everything, a large onion ring, and a large coke, the other without onions, with large fries, and a diet sprite. Also, a number 5 (Chicken Sandwich), grilled, with large tater tots, and a small cherry slushy.” Something to that extent anyway.

Communicating with tech support will go best if you use this same strategy; know what questions you will be asking and/or specifically what you need. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. If you must explain a previous discussion, be sure to reference the prior ticket # first thing, and/or describe that event in the most efficient, orderly manner as possible.

It is best to type up a key point list and have it ready when you contact tech support. If you are contacting them via chat support, you can simply copy and paste your pre-determined questions/information into the chat box to save time. That being said, speaking to tech support via chat is a lot like talking over a CB radio. You tend to get the speediest results when you keep correspondence short, sweet, and to the point.

Our second tip may be a bit more difficult to pull off, especially if things start to get tough, but it helps to keep both parties in a more positive mood, and gives you a better chance of working well with your support agent.

4-Tech-Support-Hacks2.   Be polite. Always take the time to say “please” and “thank you”. It can be amazing how far a few “Ty’s” can go towards a better support experience. Though they aren’t allowed to voice their frustration, support agents are people too, and when things get difficult they can get less responsive to your needs, perhaps without even knowing it. Simple niceties keep things civil, and let them know you appreciate their help. For particularly in depth, lengthy support sessions where you can tell the agent is trying their hardest, step up the “thank you” or “Ty” when you notice you are getting a bit frustrated to “thanks so much”, perhaps even a smiley, anticipating that if you are getting frazzled, tech support probably is too.

“Being polite can have profound effects on the outcome of your support experience, or any experience for that matter.”

We have had many occasions where we were on a chat with tech support for hours; we were getting tired and frustrated…they were getting tired and frustrated, but we noticed that every time we included a simple “thanks so much, we really appreciate your help” and a smiley at the end of a short, to the point message, it reinvigorated the agent surprisingly well. They stuck with us and helped to solve our problem, even though we were both really tired of the subject. (Keep in mind, we are talking about support agents that were hanging in there, obviously making a big effort to fix our my issue. If you get an agent that doesn’t seem to be too interested in helping out, or keeps going around in circles – proceed to the next tip and save yourself the trouble!)

Our third tip will save lots of time and frustration if you have tried both tips above, they aren’t working, and you are getting nowhere. Perhaps the agent is having a bad day, or perhaps you simply are not working well together. Then too, let’s face it, no matter how well they screen, train, and groom their agents, it is possible to get ahold of one that just isn’t cut out for that line of work. Either way, if you are having a bad support experience save yourself the stress!

3. Don’t waste your time. If things are not going well, say thank you, that you will review the information they have given you, then hang up, or close the chat. Take a few moments to recompose yourself, go over this your support question or need in your head, then contact support again. Unless your service provider is a small company with only a few tech support agents, you will likely reach an entirely different person this time and have a chance to start fresh. Repeat tips one and two.

This next tip is one you can use for any circumstance, not just speaking with tech support. An online presence takes a lot of hard work, and things can get pretty tough from time to time. When things get really out of hand, and you feel like you are ready to start pulling your hair out….

4. Take a few moments to yourself and RELAX! Attacking a problem while frustrated generally only results in a waste of time, often causes a lot of mistakes which will need fixing, and maybe even cost you money! Why cause yourself more problems? If you are completely at the end of your rope, it will come across in your work, but also in your conversation whether you realize it or not, and quickly irritate the support agent as well. Not a good way to have a fruitful tech support experience, or any other good experience with another person for that matter. Get away from your project or problem for a few minutes, walk away from your computer. Water your plant, grab a glass of water (or a cup of coffee), pet your dog, listen to your favorite song, read a few pages of your favorite book, practice your favorite Yoga pose, walk on your tread mill, throw a few punches at your punching bag; whatever you need to do to get your mind away from the subject at hand and get some clarity. You don’t need to take the day off, or waste a whole afternoon, just get out of your head for a few minutes. Once your heart rate has slowed, and you are calm and collected, then go back and tackle that problem!

“Getting away from the issue at hand for just a few moments can often yield the best results.”

This last tip we practice religiously regardless of the issue, and we get great results with it almost every time. We find that getting away from the issue at hand for just a few moments usually results in me coming right back to it, and seemingly magically finding a solution. Sometimes when you go over and over things, you just cannot see the solution that is right in front of you. Clearing your mind and calming down may allow you the clarity you need to see the fix for your problem, or converse in a manner that will result in getting that solution you so desperately need.

The next time you find yourself in need of a support technician, try these 4 Tech Support Hacks out; though there is no guaranteed method to getting excellent results every time, you will find these help to reduce stress at the very least, and give you a better chance at getting the results you hoped for.

4 Tech Support Hacks

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