2019-09-12-website-coding-blog

‘WordPress Is Crap!’ And Here Is Why I Use It.

There has been a long-running, heated debate among website creators about whether WordPress is a crappy choice for websites. There are distinctly two sides to this argument: those that use WordPress (or any other Content Management System) and those that build custom websites.
 
The arguments are—from the custom side—that anyone who uses WordPress to create a site is a basement dweller who wants to charge thousands of dollars for a site that takes a few hours to build. I’m sad to say there are actually freelancers out there that do this, but just as in any business there will always be the bad apples that spoil it for the rest of us.
 

Custom website builders have a few reasons to hate WordPress:

They have to work harder to sell clients on custom websites.

A custom site costs significantly more to build so they have to work to justify those costs. I should point out I don’t disagree that they should charge for the value of the work involved; we all should. However, it depends on the client’s needs and budget as to whether a custom site is viable for their business.

They will argue that WP is hackable and your website will crash and burn and your hair will start on fire.

While this is true that WP is hackable, so is every other site despite what custom builders may claim. Nothing on the Internet is 100% safe, just ask NASA, Equifax, or Capital One. It all banks on whether you are working with an experienced professional who has the skills and knowledge to choose the right server to host your site, and that the plugins you use in your site are trustworthy and built by other experienced professionals. And most importantly, work with a website designer that understands how to keep your website as safe and secure as humanly possible.

I could go on; they have dozens of arguments. All of which can be addressed by someone who is as invested in WP as they are in their own programming language.

Here is why I use it for my clients’ websites:

I don’t believe in locking my clients into a tool that will constantly cost them money moving forward.

WP is easy to use, and anyone in a business can be trained to use it. This means you don’t need to hire a website designer to make every little change to your site. Need to change your hours? You can do that yourself. 

You won’t be locked into having only one company that can work on your website.

Because WP is the most-used Content Management System on the Internet, there are millions of developers that can work with this system. If you are unhappy with my work*, you can easily hire another company to handle your website.

*I fully believe in the relationships I build with my clients. The last thing I want to do is trap you into working with me because your website can’t be transfered to anyone else.

I would rather spend my time helping you grow your business over custom coding every website.

I am not interested in spending day after day coding custom websites for my clients. Your website is only one tool in a collection of other tools your business needs to succeed. I have other services I provide that help your website—and your business—succeed.

I started my business as a website developer, so I understand the code.

One of the biggest complaints custom website developers have is that freelancers building sites on WordPress are just “copy-and-pasters”. They don’t know how to actually build a website, and therefore cannot understand how to ensure your site is optimized for load speeds, Search Engine Optimization, etc.

I am a coder at heart. I’ve coded websites from scratch since 1995 so I’ve been in the trenches. I’ve used WordPress since its inception in 2003, and I’ve seen its endless iterations and evolution. I understand this product and how it benefits many businesses that don’t have $40,000 for a custom website.

Using WP, you can have a website crafted for your business within a budget you can afford.

This one is the most important piece for me. I, too, am a small business, and although I fully comprehend the benefits of a custom website, I wouldn’t be able to afford it. So rather than operating my business without a website, or worse using Facebook as my website, I choose to use a robust tool such as WordPress.

I relate to most of my clientele in this aspect, and that’s why I have built so many websites over the years using this platform.

2019-06-26-website-copy-generating-traffic

Is Your Website Copy Generating Traffic?

We no longer live in a website world where we can simply “build it and they will come.” Your site’s design and usability is, of course, extremely important to your user experience, ensuring your visitors can find the information they need quickly. However, your website copy has just as important a role in your website’s success.

The most important function of your website copy is to enrich your visitors’ knowledge. However, if it isn’t written with Search Engine Optimization in mind, you have to work that much harder for those same visitors to find your site in the first place.

We have some simple tips for your website to entice Google to rank your website higher.

Focus each page on ONE keyword/keyphrase.

Choose a keyword/keyphrase most related to your topic that your users are likely to search to find your information. For example, if you run a flower shop and you’re writing a page about roses, consider focusing on the keyphrase, “longest lasting roses.”

When you’re writing your content, ensure that exact phrase shows up no more and no less than three times, and one of those must be present within the first paragraph on the page.

 

Write a minimum of 300 words on each page.

Google likes when there is more content relevant to your preferred topic. They are more likely to rank pages in a Google search higher if it believes your page has more valuable information than others. Ensure your copy is well written in the voice best suited to educate your visitors.

 

Include links both inward and outward of your website.

It is important to ensure your website page contains links to other pages. This includes links to other pages within your own website, as well as links to outside websites. As an example, if your page on roses contains a reference to other long lasting flowers, link to those other pages either in your own site, or to blogs/web pages on another site.

You could also link to a contact page within your website if you have no other content to link to.

 

Content Analysis Tool

There are many other factors to setting your website page for search engine success. A super useful tool for testing your copy is SEO Review Tools content analysis page: https://www.seoreviewtools.com/content-analysis/

This tool is free to use, and you can use it to write your copy. You can set your focus keyword/keyphrase first and as you write, the tips at the bottom update what you need to change for best results.

 

These tips apply to blogs, too.

If you’re writing a blog, these tips should be carried over into each of your blogs as well. Check out a past blog about Search Engine Optimization tips for your blog as well.

 

If you’d like more tips or some one-on-one advice for your website, please feel free to contact me directly for a free consultation. I’d love to help!

9 Easy SEO Tips for your Website

I am asked quite often by business owners how to improve their website’s search engine optimization (SEO). It may seem like a simple question, but at its fullest SEO is a monster of a task that requires hard work, commitment, and depending on how far you want to go, a good budget. Do not fret however, for I have compiled a list of tasks you can complete yourself* to get started and, more importantly, get into good habits.

Your website is a functioning staff member for your company. It requires some “training”, but once it’s set up properly and maintained, it will be a hard worker for you for years to come.

Here is my starter list of SEO tips:

1. Find out what people are searching for.

If you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, or stats tracking device on your website, have your developer set it up for you. The information it supplies is imperative to your SEO success. From your statistics, make a list of the top search words and phrases that are landing people on your website. Make another list of keywords and phrases you believe are most relevant to your business product or service (if they’re different.) You will use these in most of the following tips.

2. Write amazing titles.

Your page title is critical to successful search results. Write your page/post titles to include appropriate keywords/phrases from your lists above, but are also relevant to the article on the page. This is a craft that takes practice, so don’t get discouraged. Watch your website statistics to see if certain titles perform better than others, and use that information in your future pages/posts.

3. Ensure your page slugs match your titles.

A page slug (AKA permalink) is the browser-friendly version of your title. On a platform such as WordPress, the default page slug is actually just a post number. Search engines look for URLs that contain keywords relevant to search terms, so if your URLs are just numbers, the search engines will not display your page in its results, or it will be buried on page 9,000 behind everything else. Ask your developer to change to “pretty permalinks” if your URLs are currently numbers, and check your slugs to ensure they properly contain the words in your page/post title.

Bad page slug: http://rednebulainc.com/?p=938
Good page slug: http://rednebulainc.com/9-easy-seo-tips-for-your-website
Slug shown in red.

Extra tip: You can optimize your slug even further by cutting out unnecessary words, like “the”, “is”, etc.

4. Content, content, content!

What you write within the pages/posts of your website is absolutely important to successful SEO. Use relevant, well-written copy (don’t stuff it with keywords – use natural language) that focuses on your keywords and phrases noted in tip #1. Write often. The more often your website is updated, the more likely search engines are to see your website as relevant and active.

5. Use quality links within your content.

If you place a link of any kind in your content, whether internal or external, ensure your link text is descriptive. Don’t use “Click here” by itself; use “Click here to learn how to improve your SEO.” The more information your link text contains, the more relevant it looks to search engines.

Extra tip: Use absolute hyperlinks for your link URLs. An absolute hyperlink is a link that contains the entire URL of a page, as opposed to only the latter portion after your domain name. (Non-absolute Hyperlink: /9-easy-seo-tips-for-your-website; Absolute Hyperlink: https://rednebulainc.com/9-easy-seo-tips-for-your-website)

6. Load up your images with information.

When uploading images to your website, most platforms allow you to enter text information that attaches to the image, such as Title and Alt Tags. You should always have content in these boxes…even better if there is also a space to enter a full description and/or a caption. Search engines search images as well as text content to provide relevant results to the searcher, so it is important to include your image information in your page/post planning.

7. Create an interactive environment.

Turn on your commenting system to allow visitors to talk to you about your content. It may seem like a lot of extra work to communicate with your customers via your website, but it’s an important door to leave open for them. For some, this is how they make initial contact with a company before making a decision to purchase. The more open dialog you have on your website, the more visitors will see you as an active business that cares about its clientele, and thus will keep coming back. Important tip: Ensure you have a spam filter installed to catch unwanted comments before they’re published.

8. Familiarize yourself, and use, social marketing.

This one goes without saying…social media is king right now. The more you promote your website, and post relevant content linked back to your website, the more popular your website will become. Give your visitors something to look forward to, and they’ll help your SEO results tenfold. Sites like Facebook, Reddit, and Digg can really help you gain a foothold.

9. Create a schedule and stick to it.

SEO is an ongoing task that requires dedication, research, and follow-through. Be prepared to continually update your website with relevant information on a regular basis, and to do the research necessary to stay in touch with what your customers are looking for.

*These tips assume you have administrative access to your website, and you do your own updates.

This is a VERY basic list of tasks to get you started. The world of SEO is vast and there is much to learn!

If you’re interested in learning more please sign up for our newsletter where we will announce upcoming posts, including a follow-up to the basics!


red_nebula_website_design_optimization_edmonton

3 Quick Tips to Building/Reviving a Website

Whether you are in the market for a brand new website, or are thinking about reviving an existing one, there are three quick but potent tips you should keep in mind when working with your designer.

1. Keep it simple. Not only do you have only a few seconds to capture and intrigue your viewers, but your viewers will click on your link with a purpose. They want the information they are seeking, and they want it fast.   Your navigation should be clear and easy to use, your pages well organized, and your contact information readily available at all times during your viewers’ visits.

2. Keep the content new. The key to maintaining ongoing traffic to your website is to give your viewers reasons to come back. If you change your content on a regular basis, viewers will be more likely to bookmark your website and revisit often. Depending on your business type, this can be accomplished by changing the products or images in an online gallery, keeping a brief blog of current news or events, or even adding a seasonal flair by changing your color scheme. Special offers, if applicable, are also a wonderful way to bring your visitors back again and again.

3. Keep it functional. Ensure your website is easy to use. Adding too much content or having too many pages can confuse viewers and frustrate them into hitting the “back” button right out of your website. Keep it easy to read: no clutter, no overbearing graphics. Should your website contain an online store, ensure it functions properly and smoothly.

There are dozens of aspects to consider when building or redeveloping a website, and these are just a few quick points with which to start. Technology is still evolving rapidly; be prepared to work closely with your designer to utilize solutions that are available and appropriate to your business type.