It’s definitely not just installing a plugin and then forgetting about it. It’s a constant battle to outwit those who would like to gain access to vulnerable information. There are different areas of your site that can be vulnerable if not secured.
Today, we’re going talk about those different areas and why and how you need to keep them locked uptight.
Insecure Webhosting –
WordPress sites are hosted on a web server. Some hosts do no properly secure their hosting platforms. This makes all websites hosted on their server vulnerable to hacking attempts.
Using those bargain web hosting companies who don’t have the assets to protect your property can really hurt you in the long run!
Using Weak Passwords
You have different passwords for different parts of your site and all of them need to be kept secure. Below is a list of passwords that need to be checked and possibly changed.
Your WordPress Admin
Web Hosting Control Panel
MySQL Database used for your site.
Email Accounts are used for WordPress admin or hosting accounts.
Unprotected Access To WordPress Admin (WP-ADMIN DIRECTORY)
This gives a user access to perform different actions on your site. It is the most commonly attached area of a WP site.
Incorrect File Permissions
Are a set of rules used by your web server. These rules s help your server control access to files on your site. Incorrect rules can give a hacker access to write and change those rules. Here’s a great article on WP BEGINNER on how to change these!
Not Updating WordPress
Each new version fixes bugs and security vulnerabilities. If you don’t update you leave those vulnerabilities.
Not Updating Plugins & Themes
Same as updating WordPress. Not updating plugins and themes is dangerous can leave your site weak.
Using Plain FTP Instead Of SFTP/SSH
You should always choose SFTP access instead of FTP it is much more secure.
The key difference between FTP vs SFTP is that SFTP uses a secure channel to transfer files while FTP doesn’t. With SFTP, your connection is always secured and the data that moves between your FTP client and your web server is encrypted.
Using “Admin” As A WordPress Username
Never use “ADMIN” you should always use something unique. Enough said!
Nulled Themes & Plugins
Never use plugins and themes from unreliable sources. Malicious code can be put into either that can give a hacker access.
You Don’t Know What Else Is in the Code
Developers Need Money To Continue Improving Their Products
You Won’t Get Any Support From The Developer
You Won’t Get Any Automatic Updates
Not Securing WordPress Configuration WP_Config .PHP File
Wp_config contains your database login credentials. To keep that from happening add this piece of code.
The WordPress wp-config. php file contains very sensitive information about your WordPress installation, such as the WordPress security keys and the WordPress database connection details. You certainly do not want the content of this file to fall in the wrong hands, so WordPress wp-config. Here is a great article on how to secure these important files.
Not Changing WP Table Prefix
Change the wp_ prefix. Here’s a link that will take you to a blog post that will explain how to do this if interested.
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Effective Design Tips to Improve Your Sales in 2020
Running a business can be challenging, and 2020, the year of the COVID-19, has been especially trying. You find that you are struggling to make sales, and you’re starting to worry that you may have to shut down. With the right design tips, you can boost your sales and keep your doors open, even in these challenging times.
2020 has proved to be a very challenging year for everyone. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the business landscape leading to the closure of many companies. Those that have managed to survive have had to implement cutbacks and other cost-saving measures.
In the same breath, they are looking for ways to increase their sales to remain afloat. Platforms such as Mr.Bet have excellent tools for those operating online casinos and are looking for tips to design a game. But what tips can help boost sales for other businesses?
We will show you the top design tips to boost your sales in 2020 below.
1. Have a professional website built
What are web design tips? Simply put, it is any techniques you will apply to increase traffic to your website. One of the best design tips for websites is not to have sliders on your homepage. They can confuse people whatever you want to tell your audiences.
Other things you need to incorporate in your web design include:
A strong call-to-action
Visible contact information that works
Aligning your website to any advertisements
Developing design tips by understanding exactly who you are talking to and their point of need
Having trust icons such as social proof, security measures, and safe shopping guarantees, among others
Creating a sense of urgency around your promotions or products
Making the checkout process easy
Simplifying the checkout process and removing the navigation bar from the page. You do not want to present customers with the option of abandoning their carts.
Incorporating customers voice in your copy
2. Put the Customer First
With the pandemic being such a painful reality in 2020, business owners must put the health and safety of customers first. If you’re operating a brick-and-mortar store, ensure you have proper sanitization and social distancing rules.
Communicate with the customers via your website, email, social media, or even mobile apps. Information around the pandemic and staying safe is especially welcome at this time.
One of the best design tips in marketing you will get is to go over and beyond customer expectations. When customers see that you care for them, they will remain loyal and even send some referrals your way.
Invest in training staff members to build passion around the brand and give customers the same experience.
3. Design and Optimize Your Gaming Website
Online gaming is on the rise. If you are a new developer, here is what you need to know.
When designing, think of the end-user by having an easy-to-use interface
Hook your players with your characters
Provide quality sound to enhance the mood
Provide consistency and balance in gameplay
Unique designs will ensure you stand out
Optimizing your website is so much more than having the right keywords to attract visitors. The use of graphics and video will help reduce bounce rates. There are some fantastic design tips graphics you will find online to help with the process.
Design tips in Photoshop will help you customize photos or even create virtual tours for your visitors.
Customize your website to make it accessible on smart devices such as tablets or mobiles. A large percentage of visitors will browse it via such devices.
4. Offer Money-Back Guarantee
Have you ever wondered why companies offer money-back guarantees? Not only is it a very effective marketing tactic, but it shows that you have faith in your product.
When customers know they can return a purchase they are not happy with, it’s likely they’ll trust you with their money. Just be sure to offer a guarantee that you can live up to it.
5. Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers
If you have existing customers, repurposing your marketing content to mitigate them is a good move. By developing messaging that directly talks to them, you increase the likelihood of return purchases.
Think about promotions that target them directly. It could be a way of saying thank you to them for their loyalty. In return, they will stick by you and continue to be faithful customers.
We have shared what we consider top design tips to boost sales in 2020. Everything you do should be about the customer. Safety and information during this pandemic period are critical.
Pay attention to your website design and take advantage of smart devices so that you can reach those who shop via their smart devices. Most importantly, pay attention to your existing customers through promotions and exclusive offers, where possible.
What other tips would you have for a business that wants to stay afloat in 2020? Head over to the comment section to share your feedback.
Alex has many irons in many fires, including starting an eCommerce store and his own marketing company. He is very busy, but the work is rewarding, and freedom has allowed him to fish, see friends more regularly.
Google analytics can be so confusing and then just when you get it figured out they change it! I hear this all of the time and you’re right. I think the whole system is harder than it has to be, but my brain isn’t big enough to figure out a better way so I’ll just leave it to Google and try to keep up.
Today, I’m going to show you some basic tips to set up your GA account so that you can understand the analytics that you’re looking at and know where to get the information needed to work with other companies.
What Is It?
First, of course, Google Analytics is a system set up to allow you to track statistics on your website. These statistics can help you improve your message, build your business or a bigger audience.
This blogpost HERE is a list of all of the important analytics terms that you need to understand before going into your analytics account.
How Do I Get It?
If you don’t already have an account you can go HERE and sign up for a free account. Once you have your account you need to connect it to your website. The easiest way to do this is to download a plugin. I recommend the MonsterInsights plugin but there are a lot of them. Make sure it has been updated recently, is compatible with your theme, and is being used by others.
You Can Have Analytics In Lot’s Of Places
Google Analytics is no longer just a website thing. You can GA to your MailChimp account (and I’m sure even more companies have this, but I’m a MC girl). You can also connect to your FB shop! But, today, we’re going to concentrate on the website – GA connection.
If you don’t want to use a plugin to connect your website you can do that as well. The plugin would be easier, but I am of the theory that less is more so the least amount of plugins I have to use the better. Most website problems come from plugin conflicts. I’m going to show you both ways.
Manually Connecting Your Google Analytics Account
You’re going to go into your GA account, but you should be signed into both your website and your GA account to make it easier. You need a code and to find that you need to:
Look on the left side of your dashboard at the very bottom and choose *ADMIN*.
You will see several columns of tabs. In the middle column it says *PROPERTY*.
The 3rd choice says *TRACKING INFORMATION* Click on that.
Click on *TRACKING CODE*
You will see the code towards the bottom on the right. COPY CODE.
Go back to your website and go to the head section of your website. You can usually find this under *THEME SETTING* or DIVI theme options or you may have to look it up for your particular theme. Save and you’ve done it! Check the images out below.
Using A Plugin
If you’d rather use a plugin I completely understand and I use MonsterInsights all of the time on websites. Go to PLUGINS>>ADD NEW in the search bar type in MonsterInsights. Hit INSTALL>>ACTIVATE.
Go to MonsterInsights on your dashboard and you will see a button that says SETUP WIZARD. Click the button and it will walk you through step by step with very simple instructions!
Whichever method you use, however, you get your statistics you need to know where to look and what you’re looking at. Next week, we’ll do just that!
SEO is the ban of a blogger’s or small business owner’s existence, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as some make it out to be. Search Engine Optimization is the science behind making search engines like Google or Bing find your article relevant enough to push it to the top of search requests.
Think of it as a dating service. The reader puts in keywords looking for information on a certain topic and Google or other search engine matches it with a list of pieces of content that come closest in keywords matches. Then from that Google compares how many of those links are current and how many of those links are used throughout your site. It’s comparing your expertise within your niche to give their reader the best content.
Is it’s considered “Cornerstone Content”? Cornerstone Content is described in the great blog post by SEO by Yoast.:
Cornerstone content is the core of your website. It consists of the best, most important articles on your site; the pages or posts you want to rank highest in the search engines. Cornerstone articles are usually relatively long, informative articles, combining insights from different blog posts and covering everything that’s important about a certain topic.
There is no one answer, but I’ve created a system that works for me and today I’m going to share it with you. There are a few steps to make this work properly, but just like any recipe the proof ingredients.
When you create a blog post SEO should be involved in every single aspect.
social media posts
For example, we’re going to write a piece of content for our food blog:
You’re creating a post all about potato salad. (I love me some good potato salad!) So we’ll use the list above and start with the title. I like to use CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer when I’m creating my titles, but let me tell sometimes I think that we “overthink” it. I like to come up with 3 different headlines and see which one scores the most, maybe tweak it a little bit. So a potato salad title:
This Is The World’s Best Potato Salad & You Won’t Believe What’s In It!
The Potato Salad Everyone Will Be Begging You To Make Over & Over.
Summer Isn’t Summer Without This Potato Salad Recipe.
Below are each of the headlines analyzed:
Keywords are important not only in search engines but also in social media platforms use it as well. I like to keep my post keywords to between 3-5.
Those keywords should be in your title, description, excerpt, social media posts, categories, tags, and even in the title and description of the images. Now you can’t just go in there packing in keywords like you’re trying to shove a weeks’ worth of clothes in a carryon bag. It needs to be natural. Think of ways that you can use longtail keywords within the post such as:
This potato salad was my mother’s and it is always at the top of my summer saladrecipes.
I make potatosalad every year and we always use mustard in our recipe.
Potatosaladrecipes are everywhere and each one has it’s own variations.
Then we come to images. This is where for most people SEO goes right out the window. I see it all of the time. Naked images. There are a few places that keywords can be used.
The image itself should be relevant to the post. Don’t put a picture of an elephant in the potato salad post.
When you upload your image into WordPress there is a box for the description. Now, this is a description of the post, not the image itself. Something like: “This is my favorite potato salad recipe. and I’m showing you step-by-step how you make it”.
The “alt text”. GOOGLE WILL PENALIZE YOU FOR NOT FILLING THIS OUT. This section is imperative so that visually disabled people can still enjoy the internet. If you’re using relevant images this is another place where you can build SEO. Is the image of your recipe? So for the alt text, you could use, “an image of my summer potato salad”. Which is “exactly” what it is and also included a few keywords.
The link to your current post, of course.
Each little piece of this puzzle makes up the whole. A complete strategy also uses “categories” and “tags”. Using these two things consistently does a lot for your SEO. Don’t give them cute names use keywords:
Summer Salads – category – Potato Salad recipes – tag
Social media is also a great place to use keywords. Pinterest especially because it is a visual search engine, not a social media, but I’m grouping it with them because people share their content with the platform. When people go to Pinterest they’re looking for something. So they search…just like Google. This again is where that image SEO kicks in.
So in conclusion, no one thing will work to help you build your SEO successfully. Each little piece goes together much like the ingredients of the potato salad. You can’t just throw a couple of potatoes in a bowl and call it potato salad. It’s the combination of all of those things that will make you consistently ranking.
Of course, you know that I’ve done it for you.
Get Your Own Blog Post SEO Checklist
Fill one out for each blog post and remember SEO is created by:
P.S. Bonus points if you use keywords
in your free incentive pieces!
I read A LOT of blog posts and like most people, I use a variety of devices to do it. At this time I have, a laptop (2), an iPad, and my iPhone, and what I find most often really surprises me.
80% of the blog posts I read are not totally mobile responsive AND you are being penalized by
a lower ranking,
a lower domain authority, and whether not your website is showing up in Google searches.
no matter how good of an SEO strategy you have if your site isn’t mobile responsive it’s all for naught.
To see this many websites who just aren’t getting it really concerns me. This can mean lower readership, lower sales, and a user experience that leaves a lot to be desired.
Answer this honestly: When was the last time you looked at your website on your mobile device? That doesn’t mean getting on and taking care of something like approving a comment, but really looking at what your readers and clients see when they visit your website on mobile view.
Read a blog post & attempted to comment?
Tried to opt-in on your phone?
Tried to fill out your contact form?
Clicked on your social media buttons?
Tried to share a blog post on social media?
These are all tests that you should use to check your website for mobile responsiveness. I say at least every 6 months or anytime you make changes to your website.
As I was reading just this morning alone I saw:
images that wouldn’t load or were not the right size
no sharing buttons anywhere. I saw several foods and/or tech blogs that didn’t have Pinterest buttons or Pinterest-sized images on your site. Did you know that most community boards won’t allow you to pin unless your image size is 1000 x 1500?
no commenting section
& that was only after an hour of testing out different sites!
I know this isn’t something new, I mean Google started putting the word out in 2015 so why aren’t people listening? I’m not sure but I’m going to hope that you just don’t know what you don’t know. When I was researching this issue I found lots of articles on “mobile-friendliness”. Here’s a great one I found on Search Engine Journal or this one on Business News Daily.
Here are a few facts:
More than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.
Google prioritizes mobile pages load speed as a key metric.
They offer all sorts of free tools to help you achieve complete mobile responsiveness.
Are you tired of trying to find these answers by yourself or you just need a little help knowing what to do and how to do it?
Check out my maintenance plans that cover just that!
Instagram is a visual smorgasbord that is an. immediate eye-catcher. If you are an active Instagram user you’d probably like to show your feed to the readers on your website. It’s very easy to set up and in the video below you’ll see how to set up your own Instagram feed on your website.
Re-Authenticate Your Instagram Feed
Did your feed disappear from your site? It happens often I’ve found as Instagram works to keep our accounts safer it requires us to re-authenticate about every 60 to 90 days. It’s a simple process to re-authenticate and the video below will also show you how to do that. Just one button!
You’re probably wondering why I just don’t do that for you while I’m doing the maintenance and there’s a really good reason why I don’t. To add your Instagram feed or even to re-authenticate you have to sign into your Insta account. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but I have found that when I go in and out of other people’s Instagram accounts it affects the two accounts that I have:
I end up getting locked out of my own accounts because they think I’ve a hacker or something. The last time I did this I was locked out of my account for 3 weeks and because it’s so simple I know that you can do this on your own!
This video not only tells you how to do it
but also how to style in all in 5 minutes!
Do you want to learn even more about blogging & online business? EnticeHQ.com created this amazing post with 21 courses to help you become a professional blogger or entrepreneur
This post was originally written in 2018, but it was updated Mar. 2020
This first one came to my attention after helping a friend create a new website. She was going through her web hosting company every time she signed on to her website. When you want to log in to your website you can type in your URL and then add /wp-admin/ to the end of it and you will be taken to your login page. For instance, to sign on to this site you would go to https://technology-therapist.com/wp-admin/.
A page is a static piece of content. It isn’t dated, nor does it show up in any sort of RSS feed. Great uses for pages are your ABOUT page, RESOURCES page, CONTACT page. A post is a dated piece of content that gets pushed out to your RSS feed. It’ll show up in readers. It also is categorized and tagged in your database differently than a page.
If you look at the top of your posting page you will see a tab that says “SCREEN OPTIONS” (See image below 1.). There you can decide what you want to see on your posting page. You can change it whenever you like and it includes things like plugins that you may want to use. Such as SEO by Yoast or CoSchedule. You can also choose whether you show an excerpt, you can turn your comments off and on, use the distraction-free writing functionality, turn off sharing buttons, even whether or not you use the featured image.
The next tab which is the “HELP” tab will give you instructions for writing posts, inserting media, etc. (Image 2)
On your posts page if you have “LAYOUT” checked you can decide what kind of page you want to create. On mine, I can use the “Default page” which will be whatever I have checked for your general layout (sidebar, no sidebar, right-sidebar, left sidebar). My other choices are: Archive, Blog page, Category Index, or a Landing Page. You can make any or all completely different from each other. (image 3)
You can also choose to make a post or page public or private. You can even make a post or page password protected. Like the resource library for this site. When you sign up for my email list you get a password which allows you access to the resource library. (image 4).
You can also schedule posts in the future in case you are away. (image 5).
Write an excerpt (activate it in the post screen option) to customize how your post appears around the web. If you are using an SEO plugin, it’s called the meta description. One difference between the two: The excerpt box will display if you have your blog posts set to an excerpt format, whereas the SEO meta description usually only shows up in Google search results or in places where you share the link (like on social). The excerpt will show up in RSS feeders (if your website is set to only show excerpts).
Under the “SETTINGS” tab on the left under “READING” set your how your article looks in a feed to summary and only send out excerpts in your newsletters. If you send the whole thing out no one will have a reason to come to your site. (image 6).
You can always change the permalink (URL) of your post by clicking on the edit button right beside the permalink (URL) (image 7).
If you want to decide exactly how much text is shown of a post on the front page. Then use the jump break (image 7). It will stop the text and add a read more tag. (#16)
Trying to get rid of preformatted text by highlighting and using the eraser button. (image7).
The toolbar can do a lot of things quickly as you can see on image 7. I’ve already mentioned two the rest are as follows:
Format text (H1, H2 etc. If you are not using these you should be.)
Is to justify text
Change the color of the text just highlight the text you want to change and enter the HEX number).
Change the color around the text.
I mentioned above
Insert icons of different things like hearts, diamonds, etc.
Decrease the indention
Increase the indention.
A list of keyboard shortcuts.
Show/hide the bottom part of the toolbar
Proofreads your writing
Break a link
Add a link
Insert text/image to the right
Center the text/image
Left-justify the text/image.
Insert a horizontal line across the page
Quote button to accent parts of your text.
Strike through text, example: She is was
When creating menus you can use not only pages and posts but categories, even external links. Example: On your menu, you could have a “STORE” and it could take you to another site altogether. Or you could have a tab marked “RECIPES” and have it take you to all of the recipes on your site.
Under the “SCREEN OPTIONS” that I mentioned earlier you can set it to show your bio at the end of a post or page. You can change the wording by going to “USERS” & “EDIT”.
You need to create an archive page of all of your posts. I use a plugin called “CLEAN MY ARCHIVES” and I only have to place the shortcode [clean-my-archive] and it will post my archives. I also use a plugin called “GENESIS 404” which lets me create my own 404 PAGE (the page someone gets when they type in an error or there is a broken link). On my 404 page is a list of all of my posts so that readers can quickly find what they’re looking for. If you don’t have Genesis then you can go here for instructions on how to create your own Archive index page. If you’re using DIVI you can go to your 404 page and decide where you want to send those who have gotten lost.
If you go to “SETTINGS” “DISCUSSION” you can blacklist anyone you want. By simply entering their email. This will prevent them from being allowed to comment. (Trolls & bullies). You can also filter out comments by “trigger” words.
Go to “SETTINGS” “READ” to change the number of posts that show up on the front page.
Change your media sizes to fit parameters that you choose by going to “SETTINGS” “MEDIA”
If you have Genesis you can go to “GENESIS” “THEME SETTINGS” to enable breadcrumbs which are small bits of text showing the reader where they are on the website. If you don’t have Genesis you can use this plugin. Your site can find adjustments for this under APPEARANCE >>CUSTOMIZE.
You can upload more than just images to your website such and also Powerpoint presentations, pdfs, word docs, and now Google docs on your website. Just upload them just like an image. Just insert them where you want them with a link.
Trying to get images side by side? You can go to Picmonkey and Canva and make a collage or you can simply go to the “TEXT” view and insert the code that fits your needs down below and that will allow you to make columns. There are also plugins that will help you as well. Elementor is a good one, but Divi comes out of the box being to design in columns and rows.
What to create columns on your blog post? On your post or page edit screen and click the text view. Use the following instructions to create columns on your Genesis theme. Here is a great list of Columns plugins by Elegant Themes.
<div class="one-half first">This is the 1st column</div>
<div class="one-half">This is the 2nd column</div>
<div class="one-third first">This is the first column</div>
<div class="one-third">This is the 2nd column</div>
<div class="one-third">This is the 3rd column</div>
<div class="one-half first">This is the 1st column</div>
<div class="one-fourth">This is the 2nd column</div>
<div class="one-fourth">This is the 3rd column</div>
<div class="one-fourth">This is the 4th column</div>
Use the WordPress APP to respond to comments, check stats, and even write posts.
Use the find link content tool when creating links. When the link box pops up, just hit the arrow and choose “find existing content”. Then you can search or browse your posts for the link.
Go to “SETTINGS” “GENERAL” and fill in the first two blanks for your website title and tagline. This is what will show up in Google Search. If you don’t have a logo this will show up in its spot.
Fill out the “USERS” profile completely.
Change the name of your “UNCATEGORIZED” category to something custom by going to “CATEGORIES” find “uncategorized” click “QUICK EDIT” and change the name to whatever you’d like it to be.
Create a FAVICON (the small image at the very top). Mine is the circle at the very top of the screen. You used to have to use a plugin, but now you simply go to APPEARANCE>>CUSTOMIZATION and look under site identity and you will see SITE>>ICON. Go to Canva, Picmonkey (any photo editing APP) and create an image in the size of 512 X 512. You can use your logo just make sure it’s something that is legible. You can change it whenever you’d like.
Put a search bar where it is visible on every page. I suggest the top, but sidebar and footer are fine.
Put an email sign up form in at least three places on every page. Because there are so many different size devices. Chances are some of them will not show up so it is imperative to have it at multiple points.
Stop saying you wrote a blog. It’s annoying. You write a “BLOG POST” on your “BLOG”.
Don’t limit your sharing buttons to only the platforms that you’re on. Just because you aren’t utilizing it doesn’t mean that your reader isn’t. You may get new readers from the exposure.
When creating a link the rule of thumb is. If it’s a link to somewhere else on your site you shouldn’t open in a new window. If it’s a link to another site then you should definitely check the box that says “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”.
Don’t use CAPTCHA it’s annoying and people will avoid it altogether. The WordPress plugin Akismet works great.
Want even more awesome WordPress tips? Check out the infographic I recently created!
Join our community and get this in a downloadable form.
Brand awareness efforts are critical in achieving business success and overall marketing goals. It gives your brand a personality, an outlet to be sincere and transparent, and the ability to establish a trusting relationship with your consumers. Solid, positive brand recognition has the power to help your business thrive. If you’re an emerging entrepreneur wondering how to make a lasting impression on your audience, here are a few psychological factors that influence brand awareness and trust.
Create an engaging visual identity for your brand. The three main influences you should think about are: colors, logo, and font. Colors are important psychological factors since they convey feelings, emotions, and experiences. The colors you choose for branding and marketing your products can have a significant impact on customer perception and purchasing behavior, so be sure to use them to your advantage. For example, the color blue is associated with being dependable and trustworthy, while green can make one think of health and nature.
In today’s digital world, having a presence on social media can help increase your brand visibility. Consider developing a social media posting strategy and creating a friendly personality for your brand. By engaging with your audience on a personal level, you can build a better experience for consumers.
Moreover, if your content is compelling, customers are likely to share it beyond your following. This can help assure prospects that your brand is trustworthy. You can also run social media contests to further expose your brand by having your followers tag their friends in the comments section. For more factors that influence brand awareness and trust, see the accompanying infographic.
Author bio:Rebecca Purrington is a Promotional Products Expert with Crestline Custom Promotional Products. She has more than five years of consultative sales experience in the industry and holds degrees in both Social/Behavioral Sciences and Business Management.
Each year I am approached by companies wanting me to try their products & services and ultimately share them with all of you. Some have been great additions to my business others have left me disappointed and flummoxed. I thought I would share with you the best & the worst from the past year!
To begin with, I’m going to break it down into 4 categories.
Running your business
As you know (if you have a blog) there is always so much that needs to be done in a short amount of time so anything that I can find that will:
Improve My Skills
is a Godsend to me. Now, I want to share them with you!
I have my own hosting that I provide through Flywheel (owned by WPEngine) which runs $20 a month. We provide fast, secure hosting, free SSL’s, and amazing support. I only have three spots available.
For someone just starting out or on a tight budget I use **Bluehost. I have to say that I have set up hundreds of sites on Bluehost and not once have I ever had a problem. Once upon a time, Bluehost was considered the bottom of the barrel in terms of hosting, but a few years ago they turned it around and I have to say that I’ve been very impressed with how hard they have worked to improve every aspect of their service.
I have always been a Genesis girl and **Studio Press is the place to get the best themes. A few months ago I had the opportunity to work with **Divi by Elegant themes and I have to say that I absolutely love it! It’s so versatile and easy to use and saves me tons of time. There are so many things included that you hardly need any plugins at all!
Listen I know that those sneaky plugins get you where it hurts. I’m sure you have seen the notices in your dashboard ‘get this pro version’, ‘buy this’, ‘do that’. Nine times out of 10 you don’t need it. There are free plugins for just about anything. My go-to plugins are:
Hubspot created a blog post with 60 free online courses that you can take to improve your skills. If you don’t follow Hubspot’s blog you really should. There is always so much valuable information.
Would you like to learn more about Facebook ads? Here’s a great post by Insane Growth that explains it all.
Social media is the bane of my existence, but it’s also a necessary evil. I build websites and create content with business tips for bloggers, entrepreneurs & small businesses. I get asked to try a lot of different social media scheduling tool and here is my honest opinion.
**#1 For me is Sendible.com. I run three different websites and manage several clients’ social media accounts. Scheduling blog posts and monitoring keywords that I set up, even monitoring my competitor’s social media accounts. If you run multiple blogs or social media accounts
Sendible is the best.
Most places make you pay per account so for three sites I would have to have three different accounts. I would only be able to pick up one RSS feed unless I had three different accounts.
Sendible is different. I have a set number of services I can set up and it doesn’t matter how many RSS feeds you pick up and auto-posts new pieces. You can schedule them to repeat however many times it’s all completely up to you. I post to five different FB pages for various people and with Sendible I can do it automatically saving myself lots of time.
I know I’m not taking full advantage of the features but what I am using I love. BUT I don’t like them for Instagram. I tried it I really did, but it was just too confusing and I wasting to much time trying to figure it out.
A few years ago I bought a lifetime membership for Grum.co for only $39 and I love it for scheduling Instagram posts. That’s all it does Instagram, but it’s so easy to use. Unfortunately, they are no longer taking on new customers. If I didn’t have this I would make the time for Tailwind, but this one is just to easy and it’s a lifetime purchase.
I love Co-schedule I really do, but because of the limitations of only having one site on one account, I just can’t justify that expense when I have other options. It offers a boatload of features and it’s easy to use.
There is really no “free” service for scheduling your content. You can use “Publicize” inside your WordPress site and it will automatically post to FB, Twitter, & LinkedIn.
I know that Buffer offers a free version but I’m not sure of its limitations. I’ve always found it too confusing to use.
If you’re going to spend money this is one of the places where I say if you can pay for it then get it. A good social media scheduler can save you loads of time while helping you build your tribe.
In today’s 24/7, 100mph world if you’re not marketing through email then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. You should absolutely be sending a welcome email sequence & sending out an RSS to your subscribers.
A few months ago, I was singing the praises of **Engagebay and I learned a very valuable lesson. Sometimes quick decisions can be the wrong decisions. It can send beautiful emails, there are tools for marketing, sales or service. I feel as if it is an excellent platform, but it just didn’t fit my needs. The main problem was the RSS emails. There just wasn’t enough flexibility and I actually sent out a few crazy emails before I gave up.
If you’re running a small business then I cannot recommend Engagebay enough. It’s beautiful, easy to use and handles so many tasks. It’s also affordable. Here is a link to their Youtube channel which has a lot of info about its features. It’s a great platform I just tend to have a problem with change I guess.
So, I’m back at MailChimp and that’s where I’m staying! I know my way around, it’s easy to use (most of the time) and it’s cheap. They have changed things and unless you have a paid account you are limited in what you can do. Such as only having one audience(list), limitations on automation, etc. I pay for The Blogging 911 account and use the free version for Wanding Web Designer & The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver my other two sites. The paid version runs me $9.63 a month.
Have you seen my the MAILCHIMP EXPLAINED ebook in the 911 Resource Library? It’s just one of the many free resources inside.
I’ve worked with ConvertKit before and it is easy to use. I didn’t like the design limitations and figure if I’m going to spend $30 a month it needs to have a lot more.
Running your Business
There are several tools that I use every single day to run my business. Some are free (well most are free) but they are still necessary. Tools such as:
17Hats – is an all-around scheduling tool, lead capture forms, templates such as contracts or estimates. It runs $39 a month for all of its features and there are many. I personally only use the free version because I use the templates & lead capture forms (those project inquiry forms you see around here).
Acuity Scheduling – If you need an easy way for people to schedule appointments I highly recommend Acuity. Their free version has always been more than enough for me.
Asana – This is my project management tool and it keeps me on track when I’m building out a new site, managing other projects or even just things I need to do. There is both a free and paid version and I’ve always found the free version more than enough for my needs.
Canva – There is a free version of Canva that works very well. I use Canva almost every single day and I love it for it’s easy to use dashboard, to the free and paid elements like stock photos, icons, frames, colors, and fonts. For this, I splurge and get the paid version so that I can store my own logos, my fonts (up to 25) and my brand colors for $12.95.
Google Drive – Also free. I use it to store all of my clients’ assets. I like how easy it is and it works great with Gmail which is another great free tool. I do use the paid version of this and it runs $6 a month and I have tons of storage and it’s easy to use.
One Drive – This is part of my Microsoft subscription which is about $7 a month. This is where I keep all of my assets. (Such as stock images, templates, or other graphics).
Dropbox – This is where I store all of the backups for my clients & my own personal websites. This costs around $10 but they’ve added a bunch of new features.
Screencast-o-matic – This another thing I purchased from Sumo. It was a lifetime subscription for only $39 and I use it whenever I need to make tutorials or other videos where I share my screen. It’s something I purchased on APPSUMO.
APPSUMO – is a great place to find great deals on products or services to run your business! They always have freebies or lifetime deals that will save you tons of time and money.
Know some great tools that I might not know about? Let me know in the comments below.
**Means that it is an affiliate link if you purchase a service, with the (**) beside it, means that I will earn a small commission that will in no way affect your cost.
Designing a well-built website is more than just pretty colors & fonts. There are do’s and don’ts that you need to be aware of. If you spot these don’ts on your own website I’m hoping you will recognize and fix them immediately. It will benefit you, your readers, your page views, and your followers.
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Fonts that are too small or too light are a pain. I wear glasses and there are times that I can’t even read a piece of content because I literally can not see the font. Compose great headlines, write interesting content and use headline fonts that can grab attention. Also, line-height is an important factor. Give your text room! Big sections on content can overwhelm. Keep sentences & paragraphs short,
Think about it as an elevator. What do you do when the elevator door opens and it’s packed
#2 MOVING SLIDERS
A year or two moving sliders were all the rage, but as with everything else we began to see the drawbacks immediately. Slower sites, annoying movement or site bloat. Today moving sliders are so 2018 and if you’re still using them stop it!
#3 TOO MANY ADS
Listen, you’re never going to get rich running ads on your website BUTthey can cost you big time. Site speed is so important these days and ads slow your site WAY DOWN! Not only that they’re annoying when there are so many you can hardly find the content. I assure you, your readers won’t. They will click off faster than you can say WAIT What?
#4 CONTENT OVERLOAD
I know it’s hard to create compelling content consistently (that’s a lot of c’s), but when you use long sentences and even longer paragraphs I can guarantee nobody is going to be reading it. People skim, they no longer read.
The best way to get more eyes on your content and lower that bounce rate is to write short complete sentences. Small paragraphs (no more than five sentences but even better three). Use your headlines correctly and space out your content so that it is easy to read quickly.
#5 BAD IMAGERY
As a designer, I think that imagery is so underrated. In my opinion, it’s the most important part of your content. Finding the right images isn’t easy but with loads of free stock photo sites, it’s a lot easier than before.
Think about your piece of content and find images that say what you mean. By that I mean if you write a post about blogging don’t use an image of a national park or if you’re a food blogger don’t use images that are money-related. I wrote the Essential Stock Image Guide that will show you what to use and where to find them.
#6 CONFUSING CONTENT
This is a little harder to explain, but what I mean is stay within your niche. If you’re a food blogger don’t suddenly throw in a travel piece. Or if you’re a travel blogger don’t suddenly start writing about crafting. It confuses your readers and a confused reader won’t be engaged.
I get it writing about the same things day after day gets boring and there are ways to incorporate different aspects. Maybe as a food blogger, you could write about the food in a city you just visited. Recreate the recipes or even build on it. If you’re a travel blogger write about the culture and display items of local color.
#7 COLOR & FONT HOARDING
This one is a constant fight. I get bored easily and changing things up keeps your site fresh and interesting BUT you can overdo it. Believe me, I can be the Queen of overdoing it. Using the wrong fonts in the wrong places or using too many different font types. Never use cursive in your main content. I seldom use serifs either just because it’s harder to read. A good crisp sans-serif is a great idea for your main font.
Limit yourself to no more than two different ones. You can always use different weights to help your content stand out. The more fonts the slower your site and the more confusing it can be to your reader. #thestruggleisreal
The same thing with color. Limits people! I never use more than three colors and seldom use that many. A good accent color and another to stand out against the rest. Any more can be confusing and choosing your color combinations is important.
It should be based on research for your niche and of course something that you AND your readers will relate to. Color psychology is real and it’s a very important step in the design process. For more information check out this post.
You should treat your website like the piece of prime real estate that it is. What I mean about is this;
When Google reads a website it goes from left to right just as you would read a book. So it stands to reason that the top left part of your website will be the most important space on the whole site. I’ve made a little illustration to show you exactly what I mean.
Every blogger knows just how difficult it is to build a successful blog. There are so many things that you have to learn about that most people don’t even consider. Things like:
Understanding email marketing
and that list goes on and on and on. You know the old joke:
How many hats does an entrepreneur where? ANSWER: All of them!
One thing that isn’t often talked about but is definitely a necessity is analytics. If you do affiliate marketing, sponsored posts or make money off of your site in any way you need to know the stats behind it.
Things like pageviews, unique visitors, bounce rates. Terms like this usually invoke either 1. Your eyes glaze over and you skim the rest of the article or 2. Confusion about what it all means.
Today, I’m going to show you two Google Analytic filters that every blogger should be using as well.
Filters are a way of weeding out the events that you don’t want in your final counts. The first of which is the IP filter. What does this mean? You need to be filtering out your own IP address so that you are not counted along with your other stats. Why you ask? Because without this particular filter you won’t get an accurate picture of how your site is doing.
So, together we’re going to set up an IP filter. It’s really simple so don’t panic!
The next filter we’re going to set up is to keep your analytics from being hijacked. In the video below I show you exactly how to set up both filters.
How can someone hijack your analytics? Well, there’s a little known way of finding out anyone’s GA code. It’s very simple.
Go to your website.
Right-click your mouse.
Choose “Page Source”.
Hit CTRL + F for the find command and type in GA.
Scroll down and you’ll see your own GA code.
There isn’t a way to hide them from this view so the only thing you can do is to add a filter that will keep your GA code safe from hijacking.
Go into your GA account, click on ADMIN>>Filters. Add a new filter and then choose “CREATE NEW FILTER” and give it a name that you will remember.
Scroll down and hit “CUSTOM” and then check the “Include” button. In the dropdown choose HOSTNAME and in the box below type in YOURDOMAINNAME.COM & click save! It’s that easy.
Need a little more help? Try this video I made to show you how to quickly filter out your IP address and including only your own hostname.
Have questions? Let me know in the comments below!
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